The Designer’s Drugs: Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Anno: 2011

 

Iron & Wine’s newest collection of electrified singer-songwriting is pretty much the well-orchestrated affair that followers of Samuel Beam have come to expect.  That said, maybe it’s a bit too formulaic in places; Beam’s tendency to whisper and coo lullabies alongside soft-spoken accompaniment may be approaching typecasting.  All of this gives Kiss Each Other Clean a hit or miss quality.

After the bright fuzz-gospel of the opening track (“Walking Far from Home”) the album seems to coast through its midpoint.  That midpoint, however, brings the work’s best piece, the gloomy and seething “Rabbit Will Run,” which is both the album’s most musical and lyrical track.  From there, the album slides down a hill of the usual orchestrated guitar tracks, a jazzy funk track (“Big Burned Hand”), and an ending that drags a mantra out three minutes past the point of sense.

Brand loyalty will carry this new release through the spots where Beam’s songwriting flags, but make no mistake; this is a very good album.  Kiss Each Other Clean is certainly deserving of attention beyond the core fanboys, but it nevertheless feels a bit niche.

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