Iron & Wine
Ghost on Ghost


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Trinkner CONTRIBUTOR (70 Reviews)
April 24th, 2013 | 26 replies | 2,444 views


Release Date: 04/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In your restless days I got lost. I got saved.

Folk music is quite the enigma. To a certain extent, the genre is a breeding pool for incessant copy-cats and overall lazy songwriters. But at the same time folk music has had a long history for birthing some of the most honest and breathtakingly simple albums. Sean Beam, or as he is more commonly known, Iron & Wine, has been creating some of the smoothest and relaxing music for more than a decade, a feat not common place in today’s age. Forever a man of progress, Beams found ways to subtly change his sound from record to record, and while this record is not without a few forgivable awkward moments, Ghost on Ghost is truly a record that Sean Beam should be proud of creating.

Although Ghost on Ghost is not an entirely different entity than 2011’s Kiss Each Other Clean, there still is an abundance of progress shown in a mere two years. Where Kiss Each Other Clean was a record that saw Iron & Wine veer down a path of fleshed out music and extravagant composition, Ghost on Ghosts furthers the extensive instrumentation, something made obvious nearly immediately as “The Dessert Babbler” contains horns and jazz influences throughout the entire track. Ghost on Ghosts is indeed a record that sees Beam further his interest in pop tunes, while employing many instances of Jazz/ R&B references, references that are too plenty to discuss their entirety. And as to be expected, this more prominent infusion of jazz is not without a few hiccups, as occasionally the abundance of horns and swung segments is overbearing and tedious.

Where past records embody the term “minimalistic” in nearly every sense of the term, nearly every song found on Ghost on Ghost is an upbeat, expounded track, implementing a bevy of different instrumentation; the first track “Caught in the Briars” has horns, bells, guitars, drums and many other instruments throughout, all before suddenly shifting tempos and style for the last thirty seconds. While this approach may be off-putting to long-term fans of Iron & Wine, the new direction seems to fit the mellow, dreamlike crooning of Sean Beam. While the record has a definite pop element to it and is more often than not lyrically related to love, there is an absence of shallowness often associated with the pop-music. Nowhere is this unlikely merging of pop sensibilities, smooth jazz and deep lyricism found than standout track “Low Light Buddy Of Mine”, in which Beams seems to offer a warning of rekindling a lost love: I love you and you love me. There’s new fruit humming in the old fruit tree.

Though this record is an obvious refinement of the sound present on Kiss Each Other Clean, that is not to say it should be written off. The songs are poppier than they have ever been, and there is seemingly little homage to past works, but Ghost on Ghost still contains familiar aspects. Beam beautifully swoons through every track, often implementing a classic falsetto and spurting off familiar lyrics. While this record is admittedly an entirely upbeat affair, there is no lack of substance and personal-ness, as it seems with Ghost on Ghost, Beam is writing music entirely for himself. And rightfully so.



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
Nathan Taft (2.5)
In spite of the addition of orchestral and jazz elements to Iron & Wine’s sound, “Ghost on Ghost...

Irving Tan STAFF (2.9)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
atrink
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



2776 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If anyone cares about my recent lack of reviewing in the past couple of weeks i've written 46 pages
worth of essays, given a 10 minute speech, had two exams and had to read Henry V.

So i'm probably a bit rusty at this reviewing thing lol

Anyway, here's my first review in awhile. I'm not getting all the hate for this record. It's pretty
relaxing.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



23653 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I thought this record was complete bullshit, but I like the review. You're definitely right in comparing this to the last one by saying how much less minimalistic it is.

so yeah, good review, but this album fucking sucks

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



23653 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

it's like some watered down adult-contemporary (which I didn't think was still a thing). Every time they flirt with an interesting idea, they shit all over it by including way too many instruments all at once, or a really cheesy bit of vocals. I understand other people liking this, cause it's not "objectively bad" or anything, but it just really rubs me the wrong way.

ABjordanMM
April 24th 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think its his most consist ant release. But not as many standout tracks.

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - Cope

ABjordanMM
April 24th 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review by the way.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



7237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. I don't really understand why so many people seem to have a problem with this. It's not amazing but I find it as enjoyable as just about any other Iron & Wine release.

skoopy48
April 24th 2013



1308 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's better than his last album

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



2776 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think the biggest problem for people is the fact that it's not as minimalistic

ABjordanMM
April 24th 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it well enough.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



2776 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well that's good lol

ABjordanMM
April 24th 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't understand the hate.

ABjordanMM
April 24th 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A lot of the melodies are classic iron and wine melodies.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



2776 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thought this review would have been more popular.. lol

ABjordanMM
April 24th 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah man what the heck

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



18622 Comments


good review as always man, pos'd.



Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



2776 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woah! you got a promotion? Sweet man. Congrats!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



18622 Comments


yeah thanks man. keep it up and i'm sure you're not far behind ;)

ABjordanMM
April 24th 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Both you guys are two of my favorite writers here < 3

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2013



2776 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lol well thanks to the both of you

ABjordanMM
May 1st 2013



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seriously no more attention on this? The rating should be higher.



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