Iron & Wine
Kiss Each Other Clean


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andy Antar USER (6 Reviews)
January 19th, 2011 | 105 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Beam and his new phoenix-born-of-flames sound work incredibly well together. Though his foray into poppier jingles have led him further from where he used to be, Iron & Wine all but suffers from it.

September in the year of “The Shepherd's Dog” saw the release of Microsoft’s Halo 3. The Red Sox sweeped the World Series, and Rowling set her rabid fans thrashing into stores for her final book. The four years since have surely seen changes for Sam Beam’s many fans, and it should come with no surprises that he spent his own time holed up in a watershed. Iron & Wine’s latest output is a far cry from the discography preceding it, opting to abandon Sam Beam’s whisper-and-pluck dynamic for something that sounds much more sprawling, layered with the ups and downs of four more years of life. ‘A summer record’ wouldn’t be an entirely truthful label, “Kiss Each Other Clean” still speaks with a pensive flair for storytelling. Nor is its brogue entirely folk – though Beam might not intend to be so polarizing, his latest output will be exactly that. Beam’s musical turning point is etched in neon rainbows onto a scratchboard record cover to set the tone for something very different indeed.

Much like the etched-out album art, Beam sounds as though his feet have been soaking in riverbed water for the duration of "Kiss Each Other Clean" - far from his signature whispering, he sounds laid-back, infatuated with balmy weather and dribbling with a dimple-grinned cheerfulness. “Walking Far From Home” steps forward with an optimistic gait, Beam watches the world around him teeming with life while a soaring gospel walks behind. “Me And Lazarus” snatches pages from Noah Lennox’s book, organic squibs of woozy synth bubble around a saxophone spine and eventually simmer into a gentle funky rhythm. Not everything is so unfamiliar – “Kiss Each Other’s” tracks with acoustic roots at least attempt to call back to fans who wanted something folkier. There aren’t many bones thrown their way from this record, but the lazy blossom of “Godless Brother” is a wistful summer ballad difficult to turn away from, as its bridge swells with angelic harmonies.

"Big Burned Hand" shifts the torque quite quickly, it swamps the Americana Seventies streets into jazzy marshes, popping with a cheerful funk pound. Flourishes of smooth saxophone pump life into the bumping percussion, making it one of the busiest tracks on the record. “Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me” closes the album, choosing groovy over slow-burning for its first half before braking into a four-and-a-half minute coda, slowly fizzing into a cacophony of textures and layers. Beam and his new phoenix-born-of-flames sound on the whole work incredibly well together. Though his foray into poppier jingles have led him further from where he used to be, Iron & Wine all but suffers from it - Beam’s musical stride is much bigger and more adventurous. “Kiss Each Other Clean” threatens to take Iron & Wine’s stories through newer points on the American map, the time until his next release surely already filled with much more ‘wandering bard’ fiction to come.



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user ratings (226)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
rmill3r (3)
Samuel Beam takes a long, long walk away from home....

SowingSeason STAFF (4)
Beam proves that his feet fit these larger shoes quite well....

Caleb McAlpine (3.5)
Walking not too far from home....

Erwin Murillo (4)
Iron & Wine graduates to a new school of excellence. Sam Beam, flip your tassel. Here’s your diplo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Andy Antar
January 19th 2011


51 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album can be streamed here:

http://teamcoco.com/ironandwine

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
January 19th 2011


3771 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

:hi5:

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2011


31338 Comments


Hey Andy, don't know if anyone's told you about the contributor's thread in the forums but it's where all the contribs get together and lay claims (or attempt to) to albums they wish to review. It also gets updated with all new and upcoming releases by Trey every week (if you don't already have a source for new releases that is)

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?p=18364146#post18364146

Tyrael
January 19th 2011


20893 Comments


Cool review.

Andy Antar
January 19th 2011


51 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks muchly Deviant, I was wondering if something like that existed before I posted the review lol.

BigTuna
January 19th 2011


5160 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is an excellent review man; I can't wait to hear the album.

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

Andy Antar
January 19th 2011


51 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers mate, it caught me off guard but its a great record

Blaizend
January 19th 2011


647 Comments


gay album title

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review - pos.

deepintheorchard
January 19th 2011


644 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Finally, it's been leaked for a while. Walking Far From Home is amazing.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2011


16399 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hey man this is a pretty good review, glad to see you start off strongly. I was already going to check this out, but now your write up has me even more optimistic about it

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Unrelated tangent:

The Red Sox sweeped the World Series

I've never really understood why the tournament is called that...

DoubtGin
January 19th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

live performance was way better

omnipanzer
January 19th 2011


21615 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, really ready for this to come out.
Thanks for the stream link.

Digging: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling

Fugue
January 19th 2011


7353 Comments


Didn't realise this was streaming, will give it a listen when I get home. Nice review as well Andy, pos.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 19th 2011


10611 Comments


I've been meaning to give this guy a listen for years, perhaps you've convinced me. Great review.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 19th 2011


4461 Comments


I don't think this is that different from Shepherd's Dog, but good review.

Though I'm a little confused by your phoenix-born-of-flames (which can probably be just cut down to phoenix, but w/e), I mean, the band never went anywhere because there was some output in those 4 years.

omnipanzer
January 19th 2011


21615 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well, I think that it's great.
A couple of problems though:
"IMO"
He doesn't sound quite as unique as he used to. Through half the album I kept thinking "am I listening to Ray Lamontagne".
Rabbit will run sounds like Peter Gabriel and then winds up sounding like 70's bond music at the end.
Your Fake Name is Good Enough - although very radio friendly gets to repetitious at the end.

I'll 4 it as it is extremely likable and way more approachable than his first two albums (although I love them as well).

Knott-
Emeritus
January 19th 2011


10198 Comments


Though I'm a little confused by your phoenix-born-of-flames (which can probably be just cut down to phoenix, but w/e), I mean, the band never went anywhere because there was some output in those 4 years.


He actually doesn't say that Beams is a phoenix, just that the new sound is 'phoenix-born-of-flames.' I still don't really get what that means but it's not the same as saying he fucked off then came back.

Kris.
January 19th 2011


12345 Comments


great review new guy
can't wait to hear this



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