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Iron & Wine, ‘Ghost on Ghost’

I have to confess I haven’t been a huge fan of the last couple of Iron & Wine albums. Despite the occasional marvellous song (‘Flightless Bird, American Mouth’) they’ve felt caught somewhere between the hushed intensity of And the Creek Drank the Cradle and Our Endless Numbered Days (apparently the distinctive whispered vocals on the former were because Sam Beam’s baby daughter was asleep in the next room) and the more expansive arrangements he seemed to be pursuing on The Shepherd’s Dog and Kiss Each Other Clean. But right from the looselimbed, sun-warmed zig-zag of its opener, ‘Caught in the Briars’, his new album, Ghost on Ghost, is a revelation: gorgeous, warm, even a little bit funky, a combination in which the more complex musical ideas Beam has been exploring in recent years finally serve to reveal his real strength as a songwriter.

For now at least you can stream the full album on NPR’s First Listen; alternatively you can check out the video for the album’s third track, ‘Joy’, below.

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