Iron & Wine – ‘Ghost On Ghost’

Sam Beam turns cheesy 1970s crooner

Continuing in the same FM radio-friendly vein as 2011’s ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’, former earnest acoustic-type Sam Beam’s fifth album sees him taking further, grander steps in the shiny loafers of a cheesy 1970s crooner with a fondness for symphonic folk and a soul groove. Like tunesome blues-rock man Steve Miller or a particularly laid-back Elton John sidling up to the neo-Californian psych-pop of Jonathan Wilson, Beam’s ‘The Desert Babbler’ and ‘Baby Center Stage’ succeed in being more classy than corny, thanks in the main to sweeping harmonies, plush instrumentation and a knowing take on the grandiose. It’s not all super glossy though – the skronky jazz spin-out in ‘Lovers’ Revolution’ adds a much needed dose of bite. However, the on-point brass and angelic backing vocals of the fantastic ‘Singers And The Endless Song’ comes over like an obscure funk classic that your crate digging mate pulls out at 2am to awed stoner head-nodding.

Leonie Cooper