Recording information: Sam Beam's Home, Miami, FL.
Photographer: Sam Beam.
Iron & Wine was one of the surprises of 2002. The Creek Drank the Cradle was a lo-fi melancholic gem of a record that drew apt comparisons to classic bedroom pop artists like Lou Barlow and Sebadoh, the Mountain Goats, and Nick Drake. Sam Beam, the man behind Iron & Wine, possesses a honey-soft voice that caresses his literate lyrics so very gently and a dense guitar style that fills up space without ever playing a wrong note. So often voice-and-guitar records can begin to sound monotonous, and Iron & Wine never even approaches that shortcoming. The Sea & the Rhythm is a five-track EP made up of songs recorded at the same time as Creek. Low-key, melancholy, and unfailingly beautiful, all the songs are good enough to have been on the album. "Beneath the Balcony" and "Jesus the Mexican Boy" have the crispest melodies; "Someday the Waves" is the song that will stick with you the longest. It sounds like a lost Crosby, Stills & Nash track, only without hippie-ish lyrics and with only one guy creating the towering vocal harmonies. The Sea & the Rhythm is a lovely stopgap to help ease the painful wait for the next Iron & Wine album -- 21 minutes of sweet, quiet pain. ~ Tim Sendra
Spin (12/03, p.128) - "...Check out the spacey, intimate title track...and know that somewhere safe and quiet, Nick Drake is awfully proud..." - Grade: A-
Entertainment Weekly (9/12/03, p.152) - "...This five-song EP is full of gorgeous, intimate melodies..." - Rating: B+
Mojo (Publisher) (3/04, p.100) - 5 stars out of 5 - "More loneliness and beauty....[T]here's so much packed into this superb EP."