Like a modern-day Nick Drake, Sam Beam—as the one-man band Iron and Wine—delivers whisper-folk with Neil Young-like unease and the sort of melancholy that defines such bands as Hayden and Badly Drawn Boy. Sparse instrumentation occasionally gives way to acoustic orchestrations on Our Endless Numbered Days
, Beam's second full-length, but all the hushed emotional and melodic beauty that made his debut one of the best records of 2002 remains intact. Beam's “new folk” is actually an amalgam of the old stuff and a discernible touch of the blues. The effect is haunting, tantalizing and, often, blissfully overwhelming.