Iron and Wine, 'The Shepherd's Dog' (Sub Pop)

8
The Shepherd's Dog
Critical Mass
Label: Sub Pop

by Stacey Anderson

If, as he sings on "Lovesong of the Buzzard," "No one is the savior they would like to be," then Sam Beam has found peace in his trespasses. The singer/songwriter is still fascinated with biblical characters and life's contradictions on his third album, a gorgeous mélange of world percussion, electric strings, and airy harmonies that continues the expansion of his sound that began on 2005's Woman King EP. The Shepherd's Dog slips into sultry dub beats, jazz piano, and even jovial whistling, but the real orchestration is in Beam's voice, a sigh so angelic it masks the religious turmoil within.

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