If you take the LSD and drone out of the "New Weird America," you're left with the prosaic songs of Iron and Wine, the nom de rock of Miami-based family man Sam Beam. Since his musical debut a little more than two years ago, Beam has been more interested in day-to-day worries, like putting the kids to bed on time, than freaking out. On Woman King, his new, six-song EP, Beam continues to sing lyrics of love and loss. Throughout the EP, the spectral quality of Beam's vocal timbre is enveloped by an in-your-face production style that harks back to Lou Reed's "closet mix" of the Velvet Underground's third album. Unlike his previous releases, Beam's arrangements for this suite of paeans to all things female are fleshed out with electric guitar, piano, violin, and percussion. While the driving folk-rock of "Evening on the Ground (Lilith's Song)" may surprise those familiar only with Beam's previous solo troubadour musings, lines like "We were born to fuck each other" demonstrate Beam's continuing interest in the material world.
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