Iron & Wine "Kiss Each Other Clean" Review — 4 out of 5 stars
Fri, 28 Jan 2011 09:42:28
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Indie rock, or at least, rock from the indie world, often fares well in the Warner Bros. system. On paper, it's a contradiction to align the sanctity of non-corporate rock wit a major label, but WBR is brilliant in its handling of these types of bands. One needn't look any further than the likes of Built to Spill and The Flaming Lips for examples of indie rock's royalty who've enjoyed long careers untouched by "major label sell out" fingerprints. Given that information and track record, Iron & Wine—the namesake of Sam Beam—have graduated to Warner Bros. with the release of Kiss Each Other Clean. If all goes according to plan, Beam's career should follow the same trajectory of Doug Martsch's and Wayne Coyne's and he'll have a mortgaged home on Warner Bros. for years to come.
Kiss Each Other Clean has its moments of pretty, lilting pop, such as the first single and album opener "Walking Far From Home" and "Half Moon," which comes in the middle of the disc. Both songs carry an "If Fleetwood Mac were an indie band" aura. There's a spunky country twang that glazes "Big Burned Hand," while the somewhat quiet "Glad Man Singing" incorporates a little funk into the mix. "Godless in Brother Love" is an aching ballad that is quite possibly Kiss Each Other Clean's most beautiful song. There's a bit of '70s influence wrapped around much of the album, on the quirky "Monkeys Uptown" and the slightly psychedelic "Me and Lazarus," which also makes this listener think of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood and McVie in their fighting-with-each-other prime. Some moments on Kiss Each Other Clean are fragile and vulnerable and others are not of this planet and are unpredictable. That's because Beam's songs have more layers than your Italian grandmother's lasagna and he is the venerable chef.
Elitist fans needn't worry - Beam and Iron & Wine are as indie as ever but sonic strides have been made when Beam dares to stick his toe outside of the expected comfort zone.
Kiss Each Other Clean: indie pop rock without the pretense.
Have you heard Kiss Each Other Clean?