Apart from a collaboration with Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, it’s been four years since Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam graced the cultural landscape with his delicious voice and lustrous facial hair. This, the project’s sixth album, is a return home of sorts with a move back to the Sub Pop label and the sparse acoustic dynamics that characterised those earliest records.
Not that this is a collection that looks back. The production is slicker and cleaner than those far off days, and the maturity of a life long lived forms the basis of the album’s 11 songs.
Call It Dreaming and Summer Clouds encapsulate the album’s strengths and also its shortcomings. This is tender and meditative music that contemplates the complex tapestry of existence. By the same token, the slow-paced nature of the songs robs the album of much needed texture that too often evokes lamentation rather than a celebration.