Iron & Wine
Ghost on Ghost


2.9
good

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
May 8th, 2013 | 41 replies


Release Date: 04/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Results may vary.

It didn’t take long for Samuel Beam’s real identity to be completely obliterated by the all-round pervasiveness of his chosen stage name, did it? Famously: Beam took the name “Iron & Wine” from a dietary supplement (“Beef Iron & Wine”) that he found in a general store while shooting a film, and decided that there was a lot more to it than meets the eye. As the South Carolina native explains it: “I recognized that a lot in my writing I'm trying to show both sides of the coin – the sour and sweet; Iron & Wine seemed to fit with that duality and I thought it would be more interesting to call the project that rather than use Sam Beam.”

And much like his real name, Beam’s original musical trappings are nearly gone too. While Iron & Wine’s first releases were hushed, acoustic recordings that would have been incredibly suited as the soundtrack to movies about falling pins and sleeping babies, Ghost on Ghost – his first studio full length in over two years – continues the adult contemporary pop trajectory that was first exhibited on the wildly successful The Shepherd’s Dog and later expanded upon by 2011’s quirky Kiss Each Other Clean. But while there’s nothing patently wrong about returning to a successful formula for the third time running, viewing Ghost on Ghost as the logical conclusion to Beam’s recent jazz and R&B endeavors is actually the kinder interpretation. To wit: that album cover of multiple picture frames (and very little actual picture) is quite indicative – a lot of Beam’s fifth studio release is just gilded decorations and meaningless gloss, with precious little in the way of novel content.

So, while it still is an absolute pleasure to hear Beam enter his stride so effortlessly – “Caught in the Briars”, for instance, opens with a warm, rustling cadence that oscillates beautifully around his vocal work, while “Baby Center Stage” continues the artist’s penchant for memorable album closers in the vein of “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” – the fact remains that for the first time in close to a decade, the American singer-songwriter has genuinely failed to impress. Elsewhere, more middling songs like “Joy” and “Grace for Saints and Ramblers” simply feel like cuts that weren’t good enough to make Kiss Each Other Clean the first time around, while the honky-tonk and shrill backing vocals that form the crux of “Singers and the Endless Song” is a recipe for disaster. It may be palatable and generally inoffensive on a whole, but Ghost on Ghost really goes down best when viewed as a supplement to other better, more transcendent material already out there.



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user ratings (72)
Chart.
2.8
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...

Alex Trinkner CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Not as good as Kiss Each Other Clean or The Shepherd's Dog, for sure.

Also - you may all call me le nouveau Adam Thomas from now on.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
May 8th 2013


13271 Comments


irving and his italicized pants

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


10211 Comments


that album cover of multiple picture frames (and very little actual picture) is actually quite indicative – a lot of Beam’s fifth studio release is just gilded decorations and meaningless gloss, with precious little in the way of novel content.

It may be palatable and generally inoffensive on a whole, but Ghost on Ghost really goes down best when viewed as a supplement to other better, more transcendent material already out there.

These two lines are stellar. Great work as always, Irving-- pleasure to be staffer alongside you!

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Thanks man, very kind of you; likewise, it's a pleasure to be able to call your good self (and that hot Jennifer Lawrence gif hehe) a colleague on here =)

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


10460 Comments


irving comin in HOT

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

=S!!!

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Hey Rudy remember when you wanted to fire me from the Contrib board for writing too much prose.

Am I better nao =S

Gyromania
May 8th 2013


15791 Comments


lol 2.9

great review irving. glad to be seeing something from you, i thought you'd fallen off the face of the earth.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

foxblood
May 8th 2013


6797 Comments


man what happened to sam beam

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


10460 Comments


i daresay i love these short reviews and am starting to feel intimidated

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

@ Gyro: Thanks man! And you need to write more too, Mr-My-Last-Review-Was-In-February =p

@ klap: Eh. Intimidated by what exactly, Rudy? I assure you that you have nothing to fear from me haha.

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


10460 Comments


challenging me to write shorter i see you

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

Klap, believe me, your length is perfect as is (what she said). But no seriously - I actually really like your reviews as they are. I'm not kidding when I say that I've been taking notes.

Gyromania
May 8th 2013


15791 Comments


irving: haha but i'm sooooooo lazy =/

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Tsk tsk tsk

That attitude will get you nowhere in life young man

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Finally, been waiting for this review. Yeah this album disappoints.

Digging: Alt-J - This Is All Yours

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

SS - your soundoff = lmao.

Also - DUDEEEE WHERE YOU BEEEENNN??? =/

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Being a new teacher and trying to an apartment with the girlfriend has consumed my life.

I wrote 1 review this year (maybe 2 I forget) but I hope to contribute more in the summer.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


7307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Actually, you wrote 4 hahah.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

well I bet 3 of them were in the first week of January or something...because once I started my job I fell off the face of the planet.

Anyway, good review. You've earned a mental pos.



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