trying to do too much here
all over the place
only 1 liked track which is the link
nice lyrics but not much else

Grade - 1.4

released Jan 18th, 2011

from the album - Tree By The River - 2.0

from all music


Singer/songwriter Samuel Beam, who rose to prominence with a blend of whispered vocals and softly homespun indie folk, chose the moniker Iron & Wine after coming across a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" while working on a film. Raised in South Carolina, Beam received his bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and later his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University Film School. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include electric instruments and rich, lush textures, he was firmly exploring the former style when several of his lo-fi recordings caught the ear of Jonathan Poneman, co-owner of Sub Pop Records. The songs had been recorded in Beam's bedroom without the aid of studio flourishes, but Poneman nevertheless requested that additional material be sent to the label for submission, and Beam responded by sending two CDs in the mail -- both of them full-length albums. Poneman considered releasing them both, but instead slimmed down the set to 12 songs and released it in September 2002 as The Creek Drank the Cradle.

The similarly themed The Sea & the Rhythm EP followed in 2003, but it was 2004's full-length, Our Endless Numbered Days, that signaled his arrival on the indie pop scene. Recorded in Chicago with producer Brian Deck, Our Endless Numbered Days was resolutely hi-fi, but the addition of a full band only illuminated Beam's deft lyricism and intimate vocal delivery, resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. Late 2004 found the newly marketable Iron & Wine popping up on television commercials and movie soundtracks (In Good Company, Garden State), culminating in a busy 2005 that saw Beam release two EPs, the lush Woman King and In the Reins, a collaboration with Arizona spaghetti Western aficionados Calexico. The politically charged Shepherd's Dog, Beam and company's most diverse -- and most listenable -- record to date, was released in 2007. A two-disc collection of B-sides, rarities, soundtrack inclusions, and discarded tracks from the Iron & Wine archives called Around the Well arrived in early 2009. Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron & Wine's first collection of new music in nearly three years and one that found Beam further expanding the group's sound, was released in January 2011 by their new label, Warner Bros.

Album Review

The ongoing journey of Sam Beam from bedroom mystic to ringleader of a slick stadium indie rock band is completed on 2011’s Kiss Each Other Clean. While the previous Iron & Wine album, The Shepherd's Dog, was also very produced and pro-sounding, this album is huge. Beam, a cast of many, and producer Brian Deck have embellished the songs with a ton of studio tricks, a wide variety of instruments from flute to squelchy old synths, and a tightly arranged, loosely flowing feel that anyone who was initially enraptured by Beam’s early recordings might be hard-pressed to recognize. (Though Beam’s voice is still as haunting and intimate as ever for the most part. As is his beard.) Once you accept that I&W are now as established as a “real” band on par with Wilco or the Flaming Lips, some questions arise. Are they still any good? Can Beam still capture a heart with a tender melody and an aching vocal despite all the tricks and sax solos? Does the musicianship on display overpower the songs? Will Beam survive in the big leagues? Most of these questions were answered in the affirmative on the last album; they are reaffirmed here. Beam still writes and sings in a voice that could penetrate even the most syrupy backing -- nothing will likely ever change that. His lyrics have the same broken and bruised poetry they’ve always had, only now they are surrounded by haunting and inventive arrangements that are even more intricate and interesting than on The Shepherd's Dog. This time, Beam and company bring in soft rock smoothness, dub reggae textures, and instruments that haven’t really been featured on previous records. The vintage synths in particular deserve mention; whether they are bubbling like mad on “Monkeys Uptown” or getting Stevie Wonder-funky on “Big Burned Hand,” they give the otherwise very organic-sounding arrangements a welcome cheesy kick. Other aspects that deserve praise are Sarah Simpson’s sweetly sung backing vocals and Deck’s production. He layers instruments and mixes sound like he’s baking a giant cake, giving the songs depth and a widescreen scope in the process. Beam couldn’t have picked a better person for the job of blowing his music up to the large-scale work of beauty it has become. If you’ve been on board since the beginning, you have to marvel at the perfectly timed and logical way the music has progressed. No one could ever accuse Beam of selling out his art, only growing up and building it up. Kiss Each Other Clean is the result of years of growth and change, and though that sounds incredibly boring, it’s also a record full of roiling emotion, tender wit, and deeply felt melodic beauty. In other words, a standard issue Iron & Wine record.

Track Listing

1 Walking Far from Home Beam 4:46
2 Me and Lazarus Beam 3:02
3 Tree by the River Beam 3:56
4 Monkeys Uptown Beam 3:47
5 Half Moon Beam 3:15
6 Rabbit Will Run Beam 5:31
7 Brother in Love Beam 3:50
8 Big Burned Hand Beam 4:13
9 Glad Man Singing Beam 4:39
10 Your Fake Name Is Good Enough for Me Beam 7:00