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Iron and Wine: Ghost on Ghost 


Some albums are growers by virtue of their strangeness. Iron and Wine's Ghost on Ghost is more off-putting, on the other hand, from lack of innovation. Sam Beam incorporates jazzy touches of saxophone and female harmonizing that simply don't sit right with his melancholic, acoustic, and balmy style. The music is agreeable but unoriginal, borrowing tropes from Leonard Cohen and Beth Orton. Even if Beam sometimes backs away from these flourishes, his lyrics are tired, talking of "bluebirds dying" in "Joy," "church mice trying too hard" in "Sundown," and being "free as a morning bird/fragile as China" in "Caught in the Briars." The album might grow on you, so long as you forget it's from the person who wrote "Naked As We Came." (2 out of 5 stars)

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