Iron and Wine’s newest album: The Shepherd’s Dog can be summed up with one phrase: Folk indie on prozac. This is haunting, moving music that doesn’t lull you to sleep but is oddly energizing like a good movie score. The riffs are fantastic. The melodies are far from the usual static, this-is-what-I-expect-folk-to-sound-like stuff. Unlike my first reactions to Sufjan Stevens and other contemporaries, I didn’t have to listen to this one more than once to know, this is a great album. Perhaps the defining moment of folk indie.
In fact, I’m going to call it now…in 10 years, when we look back on the direction of music, and try to account for influx of the subtle yet infectious folk-meets-Indian-rhythm that has infested music, we’ll inevitably look back to this record. One listen, and I can’t help but exclaim, “Yes. This is what Indie is. This is Indie at its best.”
My only beef with this album is the language. I think dropping foul language in indie music is cliche. On the one hand, the artist is saying, “I can do this, because I’m not mainstream”…on the other, it’s terribly ironic, because, in a music genre that preaches intelligent lyrics, foul language is ironically unoriginal.
Everytime I hear an Indie singer resort to foul language, I can’t help but say to myself, “Can’t you find anything more original than that? Come on.”
Minus the potty-mouth antics on this album, this is one of the top indie albums of all time (and no, I’m not going to add an IMHO/In-My-Humble-Opinion…it’s indisputable).