« Kiss Each Other Clean » (PIAS)
Iron & Wine ことSam Beamの4作目のアルバム。ザ・アメリカンオルタナサウンド。
Sam Beam’s collective returns with an album that is both impressive and audacious while pushing back the traditional frontiers of folk. This fourth opus is a stunning fusion, encompassing funk, jazz and even afro-pop.
Over the space of a few short years, Iron & Wine – the pseudonym of singer-songwriter Sam Beam – has become one of the leading lights of American indie rock. From The Creek Drank the Cradle (2002) to the 2007 release The Shepherd’s Dog and now Kiss Each Other Clean, Sub Pop’s resident bard has created a body of work that has earned him an ever-increasing cult following.
Sam Beam was probably born in Columbia, South Carolina – or possibly somewhere in Florida, depending on which source you believe. But whatever his provenance, his “American hobo” persona conceals considerable charisma and a formidable songwriting talent.
Like many another budding musician, he recorded demos in his Miami home, sending them along to record labels and hoping they would cause some A&R person to prick up his or her ears. In this instance, the label that called back was famed indie/grunge pioneer Sub Pop, where Jonathan Poneman had been struck by the considerable potential shown by the two album-length recordings Beam sent him.
Although he was tempted simply to release both albums, Beam eventually opted for a selection of eleven titles, which appeared in September 2002 as The Creek Drank the Cradle. The critical response was swift and hugely positive, and following a flurry of enthusiastic reviews the album went on to become a benchmark in its field – one of those timeless recordings that never seem to date or grow old.
Iron & Wine returned the following year with The Sea & the Rhythm, an EP containing five further home-recorded tracks.
The follow-up, Our Endless Numbered Days (2004), saw Iron & Wine recording in a professional studio for the first time while remaining as inspired as ever. At this point, the outfit’s cult following was at a level comparable to that enjoyed by Elliott Smith and Bonnie “Prince” Billy at the time of their early recordings.
In September 2007, The Shepherd’s Dog confirmed once and for all Beam’s status as one of the finest songwriting talents to have emerged during the previous decade.
Album number four, Kiss Each Other Clean, was released in January 2011 – an ambitious recording that shows he has lost none of his gift for delighting and surprising critics and public alike.