Deluxe Colored 2LP Edition with Alternate Artwork, 2 Bonus Tracks from the Beast Epic Recording Sessions, 3 Home Recorded Demos & Etching on Side D
Beast Epic, Iron & Wine's fourth album of new material for Sub Pop and sixth overall, recasts soft power as a series of vignettes, observations and regular old songs that redeem through joy and a certain expectation of grace. Even the instant classic, "Bitter Truth," with a lyric as pained and direct as any you've heard from Iron & Wine, is leavened with background vocals recalling The Jordanaires. Sam Beam goes so far as to call Beast Epic his "most personal" album to date.
It's the first Iron & Wine album that he's produced since 2002's The Creek Drank The Cradle, though the results are vastly different. This album brims with surprise flourishes, classic touches and an appealing confidence that is evident on songs like "Call It Dreaming." After a decade and a half of prodigious expression and exploration, recording as both Iron & Wine and eponymously, Sam Beam confessed that he has finally figured out how to make records.
"The sound of Beast Epic harks back to previous work, in a way..." Beam notes. "By employing the old discipline of recording everything live and doing minimal overdubbing, I feel like it wears both its achievements and its imperfections on its sleeve. Over the years, I've enjoyed experimenting with different genres, sonics and songwriting styles and all that traveled distance is evident in the feel and the arrangements here, but the muscles seemed to have relaxed and been allowed to effortlessly do what they do best."
Beast Epic was written and produced by Sam Beam, and recorded and engineered by Tom Schick at the Loft in Chicago in July 2016 and January 2017. The musicians who played on Beast Epic include longtime Iron & Wine collaborators Robert Burger (keys), Joe Adamik (percussion), and Jim Becker (guitar, banjo, violin, mandolin), along with bassist Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing and Fiona Apple), and Chicagoan Teddy Rankin Parker (cello). Beast Epic was mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville, TN.
The Deluxe 2LP Edition comes pressed on colored double vinyl with alternate artwork, two bonus tracks from the Beast Epic recording sessions along with three home recorded demos, and will have an etching on side D. The digital download that comes with the deluxe edition will also include the five bonus tracks found on the second LP. The bonus tracks include: "Hearts Walk Anywhere," "Kicking the Old Rain," "About a Bruise" (demo), "Claim a Ghost" (demo) and "Summer Clouds" (demo).