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Mobilia :: Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean

Fourth album in a row and first in a multinational company and Sam Beam decided to get otherwise, to leave behind the folk-country and come closer to the 70's soft rock.
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First a little history: Debut in 2002, The Creek Drank the Cradle the title, American folk content, very simple, almost ascetic style. Just acoustic guitar, banjo and a little boy with the characteristic long beard and a low voice, singing stories of love and hate and hymns to nature, to feelings and emotion. Perfect start. Two years later, in 2004 that is,  the Our Endless Numbered Days, a little more carefully and clearly produce a more professional job. Naked as we come .

Next year follows In the Reins, a very good cooperation with the Calexico, while the record composition-wise belongs entirely to Sam. In 2007 comes the apotheosis, to the zenith with The Shepherd's Dog, the sound is recognizable, grafted with West-African influences, the melodies become more lucid and the brilliant voice of Sam and of course the great songs that are pretty enough, Boy With A Coin, House By The Sea and White Tooth Man, nominate Sam Beam as the new king of folk. So far all in Sub Pop.

So it is the fourth album in a row and first in a multinational company, Sam decides to go other way, to leave behind the folk- country in which he was committed in previous years and to get closer to the 70's soft rock. What is clearly seen in the Kiss Each Other Clean, is a glazing at the compositions and an enrichment in the arrangement, so reminiscent of a little bit more of Sufjan Stevens. The saxophones in Big Burned Hand and Me and Lazarus and wonderful women's vocals in the doo-wopping Half Moon prove it. To say it otherwise, Kiss Each Other Clean (seems to be) is what was left (or what is left over) from the sheepdog with different production and lush orchestration. This is less likely to apply as the two separate jobs were done in four years, but the comparison between them leads me there.

Special mention should be made in the last part of the record, the Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me , in addition to the unsurpassed title of the year, is a truly great epic song exceeding in value the rest of the album. The sultry jazz saxophone defines a color in the beginning and gives way to the 4-minute orgiastic culmination of repetitive chorus. At the same time the funky Monkeys Uptown (as funky as can be done by Iron & Wine), the Glad Man Singing and Godless Brother In Love (perhaps the most typical Iron & Wine track of the album) are the bridge to the past and remind us of the singer who once whispered in our ear beautiful melancholic stories and suddenly decided he wanted to be heard around the world.