Friday, January 27, 2012

Iron & Wine Continues To Evolve With Kiss It Clean

If there's one thing you can say about Samuel Beam, it's that he always keeps you guessing.

Never one to stand pat, Beam has evolved his sound from the charming and sometimes heartbreaking lo-fi approach to his debut, Creek That Drank The Cradle, to the more polished efforts of 2004's Our Endless Numbered Days and 2007's The Shepard's Dog.

Now Beam has changed course again slightly with his release from the fall of 2011 Kiss Each Other Clean.

“It’s more of a focused pop record," Beam has said. "It sounds like the music people heard in their parent’s car growing up… that early-to-mid-’70s FM, radio-friendly music."

Pop in this case doesn't mean mainstream, so fear not. This album is as eclectic, if not more so, than anything put out by Beam thus far.

The album opens with the slow and pretty "Walking Far From Home". It's what you've come to expect from Beam, an easy going tune with subdued instruments and a pleasant melody.

My personal favorite may be "Monkeys Uptown". It features a prominent and funky bass line that sucks you in and there's minimal electronic percussion augmented by strange little noises of various origins in the background.

It's the kind of song you can't help but move to. On a side note, my friends and I have recently developed a proclivity for Krumping. As the definition goes it's a form of dance, "...characterized by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movement involving the arms, head, legs, chest, and feet."

Kiss Each Other Clean is a collection of songs that seem familiar but haven't quite been done before.

The album keeps you guessing and after initial surprise at a track, the listener settles into an excellent new brand of "straight-forward pop".

Get to krumping friends.

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