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Thursday, 11 June 2009

Album Art - Iron & Wine

Sam Beam aka Iron & Wine strikes me as the sort of guy who would be hands on when it comes to his album sleeves. It would be nice to think that that would be the case with most acts but we all know that's not the case.

So I think he can probably take at least some of the credit for these two lovelies, though neither bears the name or any mention of any designer, so apologies to anyone who I've unintentionally snubbed there.

The top sleeve, 2005's Woman King EP, is brimming with exactly the sort of homespun imagery that Iron & Wine's log cabin indie brings to mind. Whether it was or wasn't hanging in a small town living room in America's midwest, it doesn't matter, because that's what I think of when I listen to Iron & Wine, and that's what this sleeve makes me think of. A closer look at some of the thimbles reveals a surprising inclusion, that of a Charles & Diana wedding thimble (second row up, right hand column), and its presence is fascinating as it kind of jolts next to the other twee images, which include birds, a goat, old houses, flowers and a Seattle skyline and the Florida state outline.

The lower sleeve shares much of that bucolic air, and if anything adds to it, though this one comes from a year earlier, from 2004 - Our Endless Numbered Days. There's Sam on the front with his recognisably grand beard in resplendent brown, as the artist makes him look both serene (hopefully asleep and not dead), but also really alive with the green flames surrounding his head and stocky shoulders. Again, it's full of the peaceful rural vibes that the music conveys, while hinting a little bit at the energy that he puts into his deceptively languid lyrics.

For me, they're perfect sleeves - works of art in their own right, but adorning records that deserve to be so good looking.

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