Light Verse Is Iron & Wine At His Most Lighthearted

Iron & Wine, the moniker of singer-songwriter Sam Beam, returns with Light Verse, his first non-collaborative album since 2017, following his 2019 collaborative album Years to Burn with Calexico. Stepping away from collaborations, Beam brings us a fulfilling, more lighthearted album than fans might come to expect.

After feeling creatively paralyzed from the years of being locked inside for the pandemic, he used touring to break through this block and started assembling not only the music but the people who would breathe life into this album. Light Verse is not an album that rushes you; instead, it allows you to feel optimistic, heartbroken, and brings you to a wide expanse where life and fiction seem to bend and weave through the melodies and lyrics. 

Capturing the essence of 1970s folk music, Light Verse is further lifted by the random spirit of jazz and delicately laced with orchestral arrangements. Beam spent time making the album in Los Angeles, conveniently the home for many of the musicians who helped him like Tyler Chester (keyboards), Paul Cartwright (strings), and mixer/engineer Dave Way. 

Whimsy takes centre stage throughout the album, as lyrically we are faced with both fictional and personal tales that reach through the various ways of loving someone and finding acceptance with how life is what it is.  The expertly crafted soundscapes reflect on the human experience, touching on themes that resonate universally. Despite being more fun and lighthearted compared to Beam’s previous work, Light Verse still manages to tug at the heartstrings, exploring the bittersweet complexities of life.


The album kicks off with ‘You Never Know’, a track characterized by spiraling vocals and ethereal strings that set the mood for the entire journey. ‘Anyone’s Game’ follows with its nostalgic soundscape and playful lyrics – weaving the idea of life as a game between riddles and a mixture of upbeat vocal styles and instrumentals.  The storytelling continues throughout the album, the song ‘All in Good Time’ – which features a soulful duet with Fiona Apple, her first release since 2021 –  tells us a story about the beautiful yet strange impatience of growing with someone over time.

The track ‘Cutting It Close’ delves into the complications of love and lust, with light-hearted yet straightforward lyrics set against a cheerful guitar backdrop. Whilst ‘Taken by Surprise’ takes a more introspective turn, with Spanish style guitar riffs, relaxed beat it creates a spacey atmosphere whilst the lyrics repeatedly remind us that Beam doesn’t get taken by surprise anymore. Whereas songs like ‘Sweet Talk’ and ‘Yellow Jacket’ show a sweeter, honey-like side of Iron & Wine. The near seven minute orchestral masterpiece ‘Tears That Don’t Matter’ managed to create a near cinematic experience mid-album, while still retaining whimsy with quirky riddle-like lyrics that are reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

In Light Verse, Iron & Wine delivers a masterful blend of folk, jazz, and orchestral elements, creating an album that embraces silliness and joy in the aftermath of COVID. Beam’s introspective yet sometimes fictional and ridiculous lyrics and evocative melodies invite listeners to ponder life’s intricacies and embrace the beauty found within its complexities.

It will be interesting to see how this new material will unfold at a live show; Dubliners will get two chances to see for themselves. He’s playing a warm up solo show at Whelan’s on October 21st and a full band show at Vicar Street on October 23.