Iron and Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Iron and Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean

by Dan Clay Rating:9 Release Date:2011-01-24

It's hard to imagine who will be more surprised by Sam Beam's change of direction; his folksy fan base or the quirky indie movie directors whose films have provided Beam the opportunity of exposure for his smooth voice and songwriting skill. Probably the former, although it won't take long for them to fall in love all over again.

After 2007's sublime Shepherd's Dog showcased what Beam could do with a full band at his disposal following previous lo-fi acoustic efforts which gained him critical and loyal fan approval, Kiss Each Other Clean arrives with what the man himself describes as a warm 70s AM radio pop feel. That assessment couldn't be further from the truth as the fuzzy chimes of opener

' suggest Beam is in experimental mood. A few more seconds in and it soon emerges that KEOC follows on smoothly from where his last album left off as a gentle waltz builds from a simple piano arrangement into a soaring delight.

Fans of Beam's sparse arrangements will no doubt be salivating over the delightfully piano-led

doo-wop vocals feel like a quality early album cut. Elsewhere Beam's funkier side leaks through well on the upbeat 'Me and Lazarus', while 'Big Burned Hand' brims with a warm soulful glow.

However, despite a wealth of strong tracks, others still stand out. The opener aside,

meanwhile, truly highlights the album's progression. With a strong melody, arrangement and near-haunting sound, Beam's clearly happy to let laid back experimentation reap smooth rewards. Only the lengthy final track disappoints slightly, aiming for epic but losing Beam's normally strong ear for a melody in it's relatively lengthy running time.

A welcome step forward for fans then, though perhaps more suited towards summer than January's dreary chill. Grab a big glass and drink in as much of Iron and Wine as you possibly can. They'll be no headache in the morning.

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