Iron & Wine

The Sea & the Rhythm ep

/sub pop; 2003/




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Sometimes it feels good to listen to something a bit exotic. Listening to !!! and the Rapture is fun but really, just watch the tired faces of those who only listen to what they're told to listen to. Realise that even though the music's enjoyable, it's not consequential enough to be listened to out of the party context. If it's 4am and you're drunk, lonely and a bit depressed, !!! won't help you. And that's ok since, well, the point of the new dance punk trend is having fun, dancing and freakin out. 

Sometimes you need records like this one just to make sure that yes, people are still people. The Sea & the Rhythm is supposed to be a piece of string between The Creek Drank the Cradle and Iron and Wine's sophomore release, due out in 2004, but it really sounds more like a companion to I&W's debut, folky and timeless, filled with banjos and lovely stories. It sounds like folk archives from long ago, and the quality of the five songs included in this ep only makes this feeling stronger. My favourites are the title track and "Jesus the Mexican Boy." The first one is a quiet love song, delicately penned, warm and cosy. "My hands they seek the end of an afternoon/ my hands believe and move over you." "Jesus the Mexican Boy", a story of profound friendship, is probably one of Sam Beam's best songs so far, quietly touching. The melancholy closer, "Someday the Waves" shares the same shy, moving quality. "you pick a place/ that's where i'll be/ time, like your cheek/ has turned for me." Beam sings his stories of deceit, love and forgiveness with a soft, fragile yet confident voice that makes the illusion possible. Living up to the hopes raised by The Creek Drank the Cradle, this ep is a 20 minutes long dreamy nap, lost in wooden sounds and timeless tales.  

-Barbara H

/oct 1st 2003/