Earlier this year, Sam Beam —the guiding creative force behind lo-fi indie folk project Iron & Wine — went back to the past for “Archive Series Volume No. 1.” The 16-track, 61-minute slab featured songs from Beam’s pre-Iron & Wine days at the turn of the millennium and the home recordings gave every indication that he was on the verge of something truly special.
“Archive Series Volume No. 2” is as streamlined as its predecessor was sprawling. The 7-inch single features just two songs — covers of Neil Young’s “Albuquerque” and The Four Tops’ “It’s the Same Old Song” — but makes for a compelling listen. Beam, accompanied by acoustic guitar and banjo, manages to breath new life into the songs.
And while I am eager for new music from Iron & Wine, I’ll be content strolling down memory lane with Beam any time he likes. (Jeffrey Sisk)