Sunday, September 05, 2010

Iron and Wine, Around the Well

Simfy listening: Iron and Wine, Around the Well

So I've been pretty critical for the most part in my posts about what I've been listening to on Simfy, the streaming service that just started up in Switzerland two weeks ago. In part that's because I left out the one batch of music that totally thrilled me, Conor Oberst's two CDs under his own name (rather than with/as Bright Eyes). I find it hard to say anything about how utterly brilliant I think Oberst is ... It might just end up as boring gushing.

So I was listening to Iron and Wine's Around the Well while running today, and for a while, I thought, "Well, I can say good things about this: fine picking, excellent arrangements, good lyrics and melodies, the singing a bit too dreamy to really get my attention, but a strong record that makes me interested in hearing more."

But then came "Belated Promise Ring," and such cool, distanced praise went out the window. In fact, as soon as the song started, I thought, "Yes, this is a good one." Perhaps that was just because it was almost the first (or may even the first) song on the CD with drums on it, but it also just seemed fuller and richer and more complete from the start. And then the vocals come in:

Sunday morning, my Rebecca sleeping in with me again.
There's a kid outside the church kicking a can.
When the cedar branches twist, she turns her collar to the wind.
The weather can close the world within its hand.

This is just first-class writing. I've listened to the song at least three times since my run this afternoon, and it just gets better and better. And the song is good enough to make me want to hear more by this band (which, it turns out, is not a band but one guy, Samuel Beam, who goes by this name). [I tried to find an Iron and Wine version of the song on YouTube, but there are only a bunch of cover versions of it—which shows that others love the song as much as I do!]

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