Iron & Wine
Kiss Each Other Clean


4.0
excellent

Review

by Erwin Murillo USER (2 Reviews)
January 21st, 2011 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Iron & Wine graduates to a new school of excellence. Sam Beam, flip your tassel. Here’s your diploma.

Sam Beam has traveled far to arrive here. Born from humble lo-fi beginnings, The bearded face of Iron & Wine has never sounded so good. Mr. Beam has sweetly crooned many stories throughout his artistic career, yet none evoke a sense of wonder as prominently as the material on “Kiss Each Other Clean.”

The opening track, “Walking Far From Home,” is the musical thesis of the entire record. Against a backdrop of swirling distortion and distant howls, Beam’s voice cautiously pierces through the noise and paints a beautiful scene, albeit one covered in the gauzy glow of subtle surrealism. The song exudes a comfortable blend of varied instrumentation, experimentation with just the right amount of ambition, and the self-awareness of an artist who has truly found his sound.

The same applies to the entire album. On earlier albums, Beam whispered. On “Kiss Each Other Clean,” he preaches. A feeling of assurance is found within his voice, one that is not overly brash, yet manages to speak deftly to the listener. His wandering narrative style is still intact and as sharp as ever. Oddly enchanting scenes and references to nature and religion abound, but are never intrusive. Lyrically and vocally, this is Sam Beam at his prime.

As for the actual music that underlies Beam's trademark narration, one might say, “experimental,” another may say, “evolution.” Iron & Wine has grown from crafting tender, static-laced folk songs to orchestrating fully fleshed out jam sessions. That may be off-putting to fans of songs such as “Naked As We Came” or “Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” yet the growth was expected.

On “The Shepherd’s Dog,” there are clues that lead to a sound that can only be attained by a full band. “Kiss Each Other Clean” makes it even more apparent. Some songs would simply not work with a single man and a guitar, and that is what makes it beautiful. Amidst the elegant finger-picking, one can hear an ebbing sea of choral voices, the delicate thumps of folk percussion, stinging wisps of overdrive and groovy brass. Production is equally as excellent. There is a hint of restraint, as not to make the album sound exceedingly polished, yet allows every facet of the album to shine though. Compared to the acoustic sound of his first albums, this is an evolution, predictable, yet unexpectedly so.

This is the perfect sunset album. From the oh-so slight pensiveness of the lyrics and ethereal vocals to the earthy instrumentation, it lends itself to repeated listens. As the lyrics enchant and the instruments excite, the album triumphs. And Iron & Wine graduates to a new school of excellence. Sam Beam, flip your tassel. Here’s your diploma.


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....

Andy Antar (4)
Beam and his new phoenix-born-of-flames sound work incredibly well together. Though his foray into p...


Comments:Add a Comment 
explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


This is my first review, please tell me what you think.

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


20883 Comments


Hey this was pretty good for a first, keep it up and welcome to the site.

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Thanks man! I really appreciate it. By the way, any advice is welcome!

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


20883 Comments


You might want to start your review with a little background information on the band, and you might
want to try to structure your text so that it uses fewer paragraphs, to keep the flow going. That
said, this review shows a lot of promise, and you clearly have a very good grasp of the english
language. One more tip: try reading other people's reviews so you can see how they write, that way you
can develop your own style. Look for people with the 'contributor' or 'staff' title, their reviews are
usually of high quality.

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Awesome, man! Thanks for the all the great tips. I'll be sure and take them into account. Contributor or staff? Got it. Sounds great. Thanks again.

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


20883 Comments


I forgot to tell you that there is an informal rule for users that you only post 1 review per day...
And if you mention the title of an album, you can put it between [i][/i] tags so that it's in italic.


explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Haha, alright. Got it. I don't think I could churn out more than 1 a day right now anyways. College is killer.

Phideaux
January 21st 2011


1654 Comments


Good review. Especially for a first. Really looking forward to hearing this album.

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Thanks a lot man. It's a really solid album filled with really memorable songs. I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the album as a whole, as well as each song taken individually. I hope you enjoy it.

Phideaux
January 21st 2011


1654 Comments


Would this be your favorite Iron and Wine album? The review makes it sound that way.

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


I'd think so. I've listened through it a lot and it just really shows how Sam Beam has grown as a musician. I still love all his material, but I think this is the amalgamation of everything he's done so far. It's tender, it's different, but it feels so familiar. I'm not meaning to sound hyperbolic, but I really like this album. Our Endless Numbered Days and The Shepherd's Dog are close seconds though.

Phideaux
January 21st 2011


1654 Comments


Endless Numbered Days and Shepherd's dog are great. I'm still trying to decide which one I like more. Though I suppose it doesn't really matter. They can both be good.

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Exactly. This album is sort of Endless Numbered Days And The Shepherd's Dog beautiful baby, haha.

Phideaux
January 21st 2011


1654 Comments


Ha ha. In that case, count me in. And again, good review. Keep up the good work.

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


20883 Comments


I'm still confused why this isn't appearing on the front page actually.

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Haha, thanks again man. It means a lot.
And really? Is there a reason it should be on the front page?

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


20883 Comments


Well yes, it should appear in the user reviews section. I am quite surprised that my last one is still
in there... By the way there is a review by Sowingseason, one of our top reviewers up in that section
too, you might want to check that out.

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Alright, I'll deff check Sowingseason's out. And yours too. Thanks man.
How does one go about being a contributor/staff?

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


20883 Comments


Well, you should contribute to the community on a regular basis, and from time to time you can submit some of your best reviews when they are searching for new cont/staff, and if they are good enough you might get picked.

explosionsinmyeye
January 21st 2011


51 Comments


Gotcha, that sounds cool. I'm sure its a lot of work, but it seems like a good goal.
I'm planning on review 3OH!3's Want album next, haha. Should be fun.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy