Are you ready to listen to this hot ghost on ghost action? Well you should be, because it’s quite nice. Also, I’ve only realized this at a late juncture in my fandom, but several songs per I&W album are slyly sexual. I like it. As much as they’re all also nostalgia and reminiscy, and Southern.
But the trick with this album is that it doesn’t rely on lyrics to take the step to “very good” from “pretty good.” Instead, although it took three albums of having a band for the Beam to figure it out, but writing interesting music is better than writing dull music. If only he hadn’t wasted four years thinking the opposite!
No, but really, this is certainly indie-pop for new dads, and I respect that, but I don’t give it points for that. I will give it points for deploying the chorus of backup vocals when appropriate and the ooo-ing backup vocals when they’re needed, especially during “The Desert Babbler” and “Low Light Buddy Of Mine.” I also give points for having consistently catchy melodies, which is key for a good pop song, especially on lead single “Grace For Saints and Ramblers,” and the purdy love song “Joy” that’s basically just a melody and a few good lines.
It’s at worst pleasant, and there are some words worth remembering – namely the line about “born bitter as a lemon” from “Joy” and the many happy images from the Stars-esque single. The whole thing is as close as Sam Beam’s come to recording a Feist album, but y’know…I like Feist. I like music that’s nice to put on during a train ride or a long road trip. Mucho if it stands up when you listen closer. The only downsides are that it can get boring, like the last few songs on this album, since Beamer used up all his hooks on the earlier, meatier tracks. Incidentally, it’s sure been a long time (~9 years) since I’ve eaten meat, and I can say the following:
1) Thinking it smells good has never gone away.
2) Fake meat technology has come a long way, and you can recreate a lot of things quite well with a little practice.
3) A few things, like chicken skin, are irreplaceable and that just has to be accepted.
4) I’m way happier with my day to day life then I was when I spent years doing something that filled me with shame and sorrow on a nightly basis. So there’s that, and it’s kinda a big deal in terms of self-esteem.
That’s all very boring. I’ve written this review to procrastinate instead of because I’m drunk, and that’s always a mistake. New Iron and Wine good, though really old Iron and Wine better. They’re not unique anymore, but they are a very good indie-folk/country/pop band. Not a lot of lyrical growth, but where the stakes are in the lyrical ground is a neat-o location.
I spent too much time thinking about food. How can I stop? I spent at least an hour every day focused on what to have and when, and how to save the right amount for my girlfriend’s lunch, and how to most effectively, obsessively use all the things in the cupboard. We have too much flour and too many black eyed beans. But I don’t see Iron and Wine writing a song about that yet. Don’t I DESERVE to see an Iron and Wine song about that? Why does this man refuse to write a song about a common man like me? I’ve earned it by working in offices and commuting – what has he done? I’ve been shut out of the business of making Iron and Wine’s songs for too long, and I’m mad as hell about it. This is why I’m voting Rob Ford in the next election. He’ll stick it to all these artists who think they’re too good to write songs about me, plus he saved the city 3 trillion dollars.
8 / 10