Iron & Wine: Our Endless Numbered Days

There are moments of greatness on Our Endless Numbered Days. The opening track, "On Your Wings," begins with a slide guitar that coils around whispery words. The feel is tense, and the minimal percussion only adds to the anxiety. The tension finally breaks near the end, and proves that you don't have to play loud to be loud.

Yes, there are moments of greatness on Our Endless Numbered Days, but they are overshadowed by plainness. Quietly disturbing pieces like "On Your Wings" alternate with singer/songwriter fare like "Naked As We Came," a happy-sad little ditty that is nice but absolutely unoriginal. The album's gentle touches are often lost in a pool of lite folk-rock drivel, and after a while, this collection begins to feel more like a bunch of endless numbered songs.

Music: 3 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
Our Endless Numbered Days is like Simon & Garfunkel with too much Garfunkel. At its best, this is a record with subtly beautiful songs that can fill the quiet moments of your life. At its worst, it is reminiscent of over-emotional wimpsters like James Taylor or David Gray. Of course, some people will like Iron & Wine for just that reason, and if you're one of those people, you should rush right over to the EPFL and check this out. God willing, I will never get stuck on a long car ride with you.

Packaging: 4.5 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
The design is very good, and the booklet is a perfect companion piece to the music. The cover art is simple, and reflects the songs well. The lyrics have lots of space, and although the size of the typeface is a bit too small, it is easy to read. The handwriting in the booklet is actual script, not some crappy font that attempts (and fails) to imitate the warmth of the written word. The paper stock has a nice texture, and the grain in the paper adds to the overall effect of the package.

Listen if you like: Crosby Stills and Nash, David Gray, Sufjan Stevens, Garfunkel and Simon

If it were food, it'd be: A warm loaf of freshly baked white bread.

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