Iron & Wine - Weed Garden EP

by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2018-08-31
Iron & Wine - Weed Garden EP
Iron & Wine - Weed Garden EP

Keeping with the spirit of last year’s highly personal Beast Epic, Iron & Wine’s Weed Garden E.P. is perhaps best described as a companion piece to the aforementioned release. The collection consists of six tracks that, according to press notes, were “part of the writing phase for Beast Epic, but for various reasons went unfinished.”

Leading off with the sparse, piano-driven “What Hurts Worse,” Beam manages to channel the same reflective vibe that permeated Beast Epic, documenting his personal catharsis by way of a raw, intimate production. “Waves of Galveston” is a subtle reminder of Beam ’s ability to paint a vivid picture with his words and voice, as you can almost feel the warmth of the Lonestar state on your skin as Beam weaves his way through a hard-luck narrative.

While hardly a novel formula, the scope of moods culled from Weed Garden’s “one man and his guitar” setup is pretty impressive: there are funky jaunts (“Last of Your Rock 'n' Roll Heroes”), haunting ballads (“Milkweed”), and gentle lullabies (“Autumn Town Leaves”). The closing “Talking To Fog” brings the whole project full circle, the song is the musical equivalent to a sunset lingering on the horizon.

The only issue that comes with any collection of ‘leftovers’’ this strong is that one can’t help but wonder how much more ‘epic’ Beast Epic could’ve been if Beam had seen fit to include these songs with that release, as opposed to rolling them out a year later like some unit-shifting afterthought. Either way, the Weed Garden E.P. is legit; both a purposeful artistic coda to one of Iron & Wine’s strongest releases in years as well as the best E.P. in their catalog.

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