Sound: Long gone are the sounds from "The Creek Drank The Cradle" and "Our Endless Numbered Days". Iron And Wine departs from the lo-fi, minimalism indie-folk previous albums offered. "Kiss Each Other Clean" is also an evolution from "The Shepherd's Dog". The first thing I noticed is that there are more layers to this album. Many different sounds and instruments are added to the songs which gives each track a more full and rich atmosphere.
It was said by Sam Beam (the man behind Iron And Wine) himself that the album would have more of a 1970s radio-friendly music feel. I must admit that when I heard Iron And Wine was going to continue to move on in a different direction, I became a little bit nervous. I love the indie-folk sound and "Our Endless Numbered Days" is still an album that I hold dear and think is one of the best albums of all-time. I, however, was not disappointed by the sound of this album. The added layers and sound on this album have me experience Iron And Wine in a whole new way.
Sam Beam has presented to me and other listeners that he can share the beauty of his voice in many other ways. The added use of horns and electronic devices on this album gives us something new and it works. I feel Iron And Wine used this album to explore different sounds and ideas. In the end, "Kiss Each Other Clean" gives a fresh experience and makes me wonder what direction Iron And Wine will go next. // 9
Lyrics: As always, the lyrics to this Iron And Wine album are far from intimidating. While there may be a little more cursing on "Kiss Each Other Clean", it also has the same poetic genius writing that Iron And Wine brings to every album. A few songs on the album are religious themed, however it is hardly in your face and in no way alienating. Saying that, even though I believe the lyrics are still beautiful and poetic, I must admit I feel that I didn't connect as strongly to the lyrics on this album as much as previous ones. I still think the lyrics are great and that Sam Beam knows how to make a beautiful track, but to me "Our Endless Numbered Days" and "The Creek Drank The Cradle" are the albums that show Iron And Wine's best lyrical work.
The lyrics on this album are only augmented in beauty by Sam Beam's vocals. I think Sam Beam is one of the best vocalists in the music scene today. No matter what he is singing about, you can hear the heart and passion he gives in every note. The tenderness and passion in the vocals compliment the music so well. They never seem to disappoint and continue to offer pleasure to myself and every other listener of Iron And Wine. // 8
Overall Impression: I found this album easily accessible. I connected to this album immediately and loved it from the very first listen. Iron And Wine continues to create lovely music that is very hard to turn off. "Kiss Each Other Clean" is a musical success for Iron And Wine in my opinion, but even still, I can't say it is Iron And Wine's best. I believe "Our Endless Numbered Days" still holds as my favourite Iron And Wine effort. This album offered pleasant surprises and a great listen. While the year may still be young, I imagine that "Kiss Each Other Clean" will be on my list (as well as others' lists) for top albums of 2011.
This is easily a recommendation for anyone who is interested in folk music or easy going music. Sam Beam proves to me once again that he is one of the best musicians and songwriters of our generation. I find very little to hate about this album. Actually, the only real thing that I can say that I didn't like was that the experience was over a little too quickly. There is only 10 tracks on the album and it is only around 43 minutes long. Nevertheless, an excellent album and one you should definitely check out and take a listen to. // 8