Iron and Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Another day, another Iron and Wine album recorded in a day. No wonder they all SUCK so much! Dude just records them all in a day! But this one’s way different, because it has a funky title. I mean, really, what’s he talking about, DOGS? But with licking instead of kissing? Because it’d take a whole lotta frenching to fully clean a dirty who-man.
Lots of commercials have jingles these days, and that’s a good idea, because a good jingle lasts a long time. Just like how i’ll remember the melody from “Walking Far From Home” for a long time. That was a terrible and unnecessary segue, but listen: Iron and Wine says every line with a pause in mid-thought, like this: “I was walking…far from home.” That’s really the only ONLY thing the song does, because otherwise it’s just a bunch of non-rhythm instruments, but golly, that one vocal hook! To be heard to be believed, and on the basis of that WFFH is that best song on here.
Which is a shame, because it’s the only really memorable song on here. If you think I’m going to put another four-letter word in all capitals you’re WAY off, but Iron and Wine are missing their chance to be the next Simon and Garfunkel by self-describing themselves as a “Glad Man Singing,” and recycling themes like biblical overtones and nostalgia for teenaged romance. I mean, those are important and all, but it’s played out by this point without the previous benefits of being beard’n’melody songs. Now with even more whiz-bangy effects and fewer memorable melodies.
There are few moments of quiet here, with everything being filled with keyboards and horns and xylophones and wah-wah pedals, but whats missing, compared to early material, is the emotional heft that Mr. Wine’s songs used to carry. Mr. Iron sings just as pretty, and it’s never bad, but gosh, it fades away likes so many Fleetwood Mac songs after awhile. Okay, “Big Burned Hand” is pretty good too, and that one hook of “Walking Far From Home’ is fucking killer, but “Tree By the River” is no “Sixteen, Maybe Less,” and “Black Candle” doesn’t go anywhere, and “Half Moon” doesn’t depict a situation that actually ever happens. The lack of lyrical precision is a problem for me in general, because I’m a fan of good mouthwords.
Okay, “Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me” is cool too, but that outré goes on for like four minutes. It’s nice that through the album title Messrs Iron and Wine are telling us all what they’re doing in private, but maybe they should try getting back to writing good songs. You know, just once. For old time’s sake. Still very pleasant, though.

6 / 10

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