Iron & Wine – Kiss Eachother Clean

Everyone is searching for truth. I search for it in religion, relationships, music and deep dish pizza. This isn’t a religious blog, nor it is a relationship self help site, it’s for music, so that’s where I’ll start today. But now that I think about it maybe it should also be about pizza… food for thought I suppose (pun intended).

Now that i’ve waxed poetic about truth and sufficiently ensured that the rest of this post will be anti-climactic, let us continue to the topic at hand.

First off I would suggest that everyone go read’s interview/article with Texas hill country dwelling Sam Beam (he is Iron & wine, for those who didn’t know). It’s a great inside look into Beam’s life, thoughts, and ideas for this album… and damn good writing to boot. Read Here.

Now I have to say that this isn’t the Creek Drank The Cradle or Around The Well that many of us were hoping for, but I think the same truth in Beam’s writing remains. Many of his fans may have the knee jerk reaction of saying he’s sold out with this one but I don’t think that’s it at all. We saw with his last album, Shepherd’s Dog, a transition from the minimalist garageband type recordings of his early work to an well produced studio album and a backing of extremely talented multi-instrumentalists. In my opinion Beam is merely taking the next logical step.

It’s far more electric than his other albums, and the tones he uses is very dry, maybe even a spin off of an early seventies feel when everyone was experimenting with electric sounds and the use of rhodes keyboards. But it’s still very much an Iron & Wine sound.

The thing what I think I love most about his music is the lyrics, and his haven’t really changed over the years. There really aren’t a lot of artists that I find to be quite as honest as him. But it’s not just honesty… there seems to be something that strikes a chord with me as true in so many of his lyrics about time, love, children, etc. I’m not saying that it’s something to base your life on, I’m sure he wouldn’t even suggest that much, but there’s something there and I just can’t seem to shake it. Here are some of my favorite lyrics from the album:

“I’ve become a glad man singing a song
About a lover rolled over, said you must be tired
And the truth coming towards the light
About a sad man knocking on a chapel door
And a burned out boat called “Tried by Fire”
the mouth of the river is wide…” – Glad Man Singing

“Your baby left you unimpressed
But no one likes a beggar, slightly overdressed.” -Monkey’s Uptown

“We all live in grace at the end of the day
And we’ve armed all the children we thought we’d betrayed
And I still have a prayer, but too few occasions to pray.” -Rabbit Will Run

“A sad man lost in the hammock sway” -Glad Man Singing

“We’ve all taken a stone from the holiest place.” -Rabbit Will Run

“Time isn’t kind or unkind, you liked to say.
But I wonder to who, what it is you’re saying today” -Tree By The River

There are many more but I’ll spare you a mile long post. So I’ll just say that if you’re in any way and Iron & Wine fan… even if you’re a faux-fan and just tell you’re indie fresh friends that you are, get this album. I honestly think you’ll like it once you give it the chance. Don’t be discouraged by the strange sounds you hear out of the sound clip previews. Also, I would recommend getting the “deluxe version” because both Lean Into The Light and the acoustic version of Glad Man Singing are incredible.

You ask why I still love Beam’s music? Because I think it’s still as true as ever.

Kiss Each Other Clean isn’t a folk record, exactly, but Beam is still a folksinger, and he’s still telling our stories.” -Amanda Petrusich of Pitchfork

Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me

Lean Into The Light (bonus track)


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Categories: Music Review

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