Iron & Wine - Ghost On Ghost

Sam Beam completes his metamorphosis

With Kiss Each Other Clean,
Sam Beam – the brainchild
behind Iron & Wine – crafted
one of 2011’s most sublime
albums. Incorporating more
textures, layers and
instruments than his
previous three records, it
took him further away from
the hushed, sparse realm of
the singer-songwriter and
towards a more tropical,
worldly adventure.

It’s a journey that the
Austin, Texas-based musician
has continued with Ghost On
Ghost, on which he’s joined
by a vast array of musicians –
including members of Bob
Dylan’s band and The Jazz
Messengers – to create an equally vast array of sounds.
The foundation of these
songs is still a tender indie
folk, but it’s permeated by an
inventive infusion of genres:
there are tinges of soul,
fragments of jazz, further
hints of Beam’s fascination
with 70s soft rock radio, mild
funk grooves and a plethora
of more exotic nuances.

It never feels over-done;
rather, every flourish feels vital
and necessary, whether in the
dark ominous grooves of Low
Light Buddy Of Mine, the
plaintive sadness of Joy or the
mellow melancholy of Winter
Prayers. Ghost On Ghost
completes Iron & Wine’s
transformation from simple
soul-searching singer-songwriter
into fully-fledged
bandleader. Beam firmly
remains a master at both.
 

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

4AD | CAD 3306 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Mischa Pearlman
<< Back to Issue 413

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