Iron & Wine Review: Kiss Each Other Clean

By Phillip C. Sunkel IV |

With Iron & Wines latest album, Sam Beam delivers folk packed with electronic feeling.

Beam’s fourth full-length, “Kiss Each Other Clean,” holds some of the impact of his hit album “The Shepard’s Dog,” but lacks the full grip and quality of the latter album. It opens up with a fantastic start with the sure-to-be hit song “Walking Far From Home.” The song builds into an epic of Beam’s travels with Iron & Wine and his longing for his love of home.

The album proceeds into “Me and Lazarus,” a chilled-out adventure tune with a touch or two of the saxophone which can be heard in a number of the songs on the album. This song, as well as the others, often takes a couple listens to truly admire the work put into the instrumentation on the album.

“Kiss Each Other Clean’s” most recognized song off the record so far has to be their hit single, “Half Moon.” It’s not the best song on the album, as it’s greatly overshadowed by the rest. Once you are beyond “Half Moon” to the next five songs, it becomes quite easy to forget.

The best song, by far, has to be the dance-friendly jam, “Big Burned hand.” At first, it opens with what sounds like a kazoo, but surprisingly, is a saxophone, not heard on earlier Iron & Wine albums and EP’s.

Electronic influence can be heard throughout the album, not that that’s necessarily a good thing. The distortion on Beam’s voice in “Big Burned hand” hides his vocal abilities, making the song amazing except for his voice. Despite this, the song is still definitely one of his best. “Rabbit Will Run” also holds sway with electronic influence both in the music and on Beam’s vocals. Unfortunately the song blends away with the rest of his former records despite the featured electronic whistles.

“Kiss Each Other Clean” is not an album for everyone. For the usual fans of Iron & Wine, I am one myself, I say give it a couple of listens. The album seems to grow on people as they listen to it. It may be different, but it is still Iron & Wine. Thankfully the album works great as one cohesive record with all sorts of instruments, electronics and influences to keep any music lover occupied for an afternoon.

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