Before 2007's The Shepherd's Dog, the last we heard from Iron and Wine was the six songs comprising Woman King released in 2005. What distinguished Woman King from its predecessors was the deepening integration of spiraling, dense opuses ("Gray Stables,” "Evening on the Ground (Lilith's Song)") with intimate confessionals ("Jezebel,” "My Lady's House"). On The Shepherd's Dog, this integration is complete. Compositionally, it is Iron and Wine's most ambitious and accomplished recording to date. It’s also the most satisfying.
While many of us learned of Iron and Wine by way of Sam Beam's tender and spare rendering of The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" on the Garden State soundtrack, those who dug deeper discovered a classic American tunesmith with a precocious musical signature. Songs like "Lion's Mane” and "Naked as We Came" are remarkable demonstrations of craft: musically memorable, lyrically evocative, and casually atmospheric.
The whole album breathes. Its seductive rhythms percolate and undulate, from the psych-pop of "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" to the album's last dance—a waltz—"Flightless Bird, American Mouth.” And there's nary a trapkit on the whole album.
Iron and Wine The Shepherd's Dog Track Listing:
1. Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
2. White Tooth Man
3. Lovesong of the Buzzard
5. House by the Sea
6. Innocent Bones
7. Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog)
8. Resurrection Fern
9. Boy with a Coin
10. The Devil Never Sleeps
11. Peace Beneath the City
12. Flightless Bird, American Mouth