I love Samuel Beam. It’s been three and…

I love Samuel Beam. It’s been three and a half years since his brilliance last went public under the moniker Iron & Wine and in that time I’ve thought often of this love. While my feelings have been requited weekly during those years with blissful mid morning solo dance parties and emotional late evening headphone meditations, many of those timeless moments were shadowed by one thought lingering in the recesses of a true fan’s mind: what could possibly come next from this channel?

Beam’s 2007 release, The Shepherd’s Dog was a departure from years of singer/songwriter simplicity and a sojourn into genre bending sonic massage. It seemed clear that Iron & Wine was starting on a new path but in the years of anticipation and newslessness that followed his third full length release it was impossible to tell what was boiling in the mind that would soon connect the dots between past and future. Alas, a new tide and new sound: Kiss Each Other Clean.

Beam’s unique style of song crafting and his always fresh and timely mantras have once again reached through space to take up residence in the center of the music world’s heart. The album is entirely Iron & Wine and it is entirely brand new. The same energy which has graced every note since The Creek Drank The Cradle returns but under a new umbrella and with a slew of new instrumental accompaniment. Organ, harp, piano, marimba, pan pipes, rhodes, bells, electric guitar, clavinet and, wait for it…. saxophone.

With Kiss Each Other Clean, Beam has knit a tapestry of funky folk pop with heart. Dynamic, impeccably organized and always interesting, the twists and turns of the album add to and augment the poetry oozing from an insightful soul. Monkeys Uptown churns a gut-wrentchingly soulful groove over just enough of Beam’s signature ethereal ooohs and aaahs. It overflows with funk. Rabbit Will Run is a magnetic musical painting with a smattering of sounds that call out the sonic palate of the planet earth. It is teeming with emotion. Godless Brother In Love is a ballad played at sunset underneath the ocean among a chorus of silence. It is character. Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me is a horn driven, hard hitting dance beat that gets your heart singing just in time for the song to dissolve into a Sun Ra-esque metamorphosis of noise and nuance to end out the album.

If it takes Iron & Wine another several years to grace us with the next installment, American pop music will hold the reverberations of Kiss Each Other Clean with grateful arms.

I’ve linked a full download here including two bonus tracks released in the iTunes deluxe edition as well as two songs off the lead up EP Walking Far From Home. Enjoy.

Kiss Each Other Clean