If Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam shaved his beard would he still look like Zach Galifianakis? If he released a new song without sleepy guitar and hardly audible whispers would it still sound like Iron & Wine. While I’m no beard aficionado, I can confidently say that Iron & Wine’s “Walking Far From Home” is a bold step that will expand the definition of an Iron & Wine song.
“Walking Far From Home,” currently streaming on the band’s website, is the leading track from Beam’s upcoming LP, Kiss Each Other Clean. Among the song’s distortion, vocal filters, and electronic quirks, perhaps the most atypical feature is the lack of acoustic guitar. But what have always made an Iron & Wine song are the lyrics. Above all else, Beam is a raconteur.
The rhythmic, nursery rhyme structure recalls Alison Krauss’s rendition of “Down To The River To Pray,” to which Beam adds his own batch of poignant, Dylanesque observations. Beam weaves a tapestry of ordinary people, unfamiliar places, and fleeting moments into a hymnal.
Die-hard fans of The Creek Drank The Cradle and folk purists may have apprehensions about what this track means for the sonic quality of the remainder of Kiss Each Other Clean. But Beam has planted and harvested a large crop since his early work, and I could not be more excited for him to share the fruits of his labor.
By the way, Kanye’s new album is dope.