In music like politics early front runners can gain an adavantage. Using the political analogy, I believe Iron & Wine has just won the The Iowa Caucus. Ironically, some loyal fans are rebelling. It seems they never wanted Sam Beam to move away from the introverted, etheral sound, to which they became accustomed.
On Kiss Each Other Clean we discover that Beam's voice has a range that he has never unleashed. He hasn't lost the muted raspy tone of previous efforts. He just shows so much more. The melodies aren't hidden on this album. While it may be a new direction, it moves with the brush strokes of a diverse pallet. From the first listen, it is clear that Kiss Each Other Clean will be a career defining album for Iron & Wine.