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Kiss Each Other Clean

3.7 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

It's been more than three years since Iron & Wine's last studio effort, The Shepherd's Dog, which was widely praised by fans and critics alike. While Beam's early albums were sparse, intimate solo affairs, Shepherd's introduced layered textures and poly-rhythmic sounds that allowed his lyrics to spring to life. It's only natural then, that Beam took this sonic collage and built upon it for his new album, Kiss Each Other Clean. The result is a brighter, more focused record that retains the idiosyncratic elements that make Iron & Wine such an engaging band.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 25, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B004EQCO5U
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,326 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I've spent all weekend and most of last week with this cd. It has been a long time since I have done this, but I have hardly listened to anything else.
It is a cd where every song could be your favorite song, I've had a different song as my favorite for the last four days. The coda of "Your fake name" hooked me first, then the absolute, pure beauty of "godless brother" got me, then "Glad man singing", then "Tree by the river"...
I have listened to I&W since the first cd came out and this cd, though a departure, makes me feel the same way that all of the others before did. These songs make me want to do things that I've never done and make me remember things that I have.
The negative response to this album is fascinating and makes me think that this is what it felt during the Dylan-going-electric days. I am glad that Dylan went electric, and I am glad that SB made this cd. This cd proves that Sam Beam is probably the best songwriter out there right now. Seriously.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Iron & Wine's Sam Beam may have gotten his start as a soft-spoken folk genius, but he has long since shed that cocoon and emerged as a first-rate pop songwriter. On 2007's The Shepherd's Dog, Beam showcased his interest in breaking out from the confines of "folk" music and created a clever, well-paced, but still quite beautiful pop album. He dropped some folksy gems, of course, such as Flightless Bird and Resurrection Fern, but the record was steeped far more in the twangy sound of the South than the hushed chords of the mountains and forests.

Beam has always had a sort of fetishist affiliation with the South, but it has come up front at full force on Kiss Each Other Clean, incorporating more twang and a bluesier overall feel, as evidenced by the rough grit of the opening and closing tracks, both of which showcase a distorted, psychedelic guitar swirl. Soft synthesizer keys appear all over the record, adding texture and softness to some of the rougher-sounding tracks. The instrumentation on the album is incredibly varied, showcasing horns, strings, keys, a slew of different percussive instruments, and more. Beam is nothing if not a premier champion of melody and songwriting, and his considerable talents are running on all cylinders on this album. On top of that, his vocals are particularly excellent, running from forceful chants to whispered hymns with ease.

The production on the record is clean, and as described by Beam, evokes a kind of 70's FM sound akin to Elton John and Fleetwood Mac, thanks in large part to the instrumental variety (and the truly wonderful synth textures.) Anyone who has been following Beam thus far is guaranteed to enjoy this record, but those that felt The Shepherd's Dog was a step in the wrong direction will be further disappointed with Kiss Each Other Clean.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to Iron and Wine since the start, and its hard to remember a summer night on the porch without The Creed drank the Cradle getting some play time. I loved the delicate organic feel, and the strength and restraint the writing used.

I've began to realize as I get older, that the music I used to love is slowly dying. Another user mentioned bands falling apart, or taking a step in a new direction as the years go on. And I'd have to agree, as hearing this album in this state has brought on the feeling of a candle finally burning itself out.

I had heard parts of the album performed in an acoustic session NPR over the last few weeks. The performances lacked all of this "clutter" that this album seems to have. The writing may not have been as strong as previous albums and EPs, but it still had that raw sound that I really enjoyed. Once the CD finally arrived, I found myself checking to see if it actually was the right one.

What are these sounds? Why are they here? When they performed in studio the music was free from all of this sampling, editing and mixing. Why are there sound effects? Obviously these stray sounds were not important enough to include in a live set, and I feel that they only bury the real music.

I appreciate an artist taking steps to explore other areas and methods to make good music. I just hoped that even with a new larger label, Sam Beam would have had the restraint he used in his earlier lyric crafting and applied it to the overall sound. This album reminds me of the first time I saw a "build your own sundae" buffet. I was so eager to try all of the sprinkles, syrups, bits of pineapple etc, that I ended up with an uneatable mess. I feel that that same may apply to this "new direction".
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8 Comments 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: MP3 Music
I usually don't write reviews, but I love Iron & Wine. The thing is, this IS a good album. The writing and Sam Beam's work is exemplary as always, and I like the songs themselves a lot. The problem is that it's just too damn overproduced. If you listen to it and imagine the songs less produced, you can imagine another terrific Iron & Wine album, right? All the little sound effects and excessive backround singing and stuff....it's just overkill. I'm not saying that it needs to be just Sam Beam and his guitar, although I love that too. I'm definitely open-minded and I'm all for artists trying new things, but this is just too much. When I listen to it I want to just peel all the crap off. I hope he tones all that stuff down on the next album. I think his fans like him partially BECAUSE of the lack of all that production nonsense we've come to loathe with other 'artists'...it's no wonder this album just seems off.
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