"A surprising and majestic triumph." - NME (9/10)
"Sam Beam has taken a bold leap forward on Kiss Each Other Clean." - The Times (4/5)
"As much funk and pop as it is folk, and excellent." - Uncut (4/5 - Album of the Month)
"Like Fleetwood Mac in their pomp... As ever, a real treat for your ears." - Q (4/5)
"There is no inclination that doesn't come locked to its contradictory impulse, but between these poles, most things are possible." - The Independent (Album of the Week - 5/5)
"It's as beautiful, tragic or, well, American as anything Beam has made thus far. Wonderful." - The Fly (4/5)
"Suggests a brilliant and unpredictable future from an artist who, unbelievably, appears to be only just getting started." - Drowned In Sound (8/10)
In January, Iron & Wine released their first album for 4AD, Kiss Each Other Clean, on CD, LP and download.Returning from a three year recording hiatus, Kiss Each Other Clean proved Iron & Wine's time away from the spotlight was well spent. Not one to rest on laurels, Kiss Each Other Clean continued from where previous album The Shepherd’s Dog left off.
The trademark hushed vocals and plaintive acoustic guitar of Sam Beam remained, but this time were complimented by multi-layered productions and a greater rhythmical sophistication. This progression is in part attributable to his new backing band, now expanded to an impressive seven members. Despite this swell in personnel, the songs retain the ornate elegance long associated with Iron & Wine, but are stretched in new directions. At once both funky and downhome, Kiss Each Other Clean hints at a variety of AM radio influences and a keen poetic sensibility. Ultimately though, it serves to underline the unique songwriting talent of Sam Beam and his continued development as an artist.
Iron and Wine also recorded a 4AD Session, for which Beam made the conscious decision to return to his roots. Taking those album tracks back to their nascent form, Beam delivered five acoustic performances that immediately make clear the craft and care that constitutes each Iron & Wine track. Pushed to the fore is Beam’s languorous vocals, showcasing the seemingly effortless ease with which he is able to imbibe his music with a nuanced poetry. Watch the session below.
Towards the end of the year, Iron and Wine also issued a limited edition 12" collecting together a live session recorded for Mourning Becomes Electra. More information on that record and it's current availability here.