Emmanuel Elone: This duet seems to bring out the best of Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop. The acoustic guitar was elegant, but the light percussion and warm piano notes in the back enhanced this song a lot. Add to that the wonderful, chirping vocal performance of the duo, and the result is a beautiful love ballad that sounds fresh, original, unique and gorgeous. [8/10]
Alexandra Fletcher: I really wanted to love this song. There’s a lot that goes right here and equally as much that sounds exactly like everything else Sam Beam has ever done, but that may have been the point. The lack of compression on the vocals, bringing them forefront, without overproducing, was a nice a effect, like overhearing a private conversation between lovers. Lyrically, it’s a simplistic and pretty love song, but the melody is really lackluster, there’s not a lot happening other than the idea of two people walking hand in hand in harmony, no highs or lows. Jesca Hoop’s addition is the highlight here. [5/10]
Chris Ingalls: Beam and Hoop making a duets album has the potential for skeptics to call it a She & Him reboot, but thankfully, this project is much better than that. Forgoing indie posturing for a more direct approach, even the most jaded music fan can’t deny the simple beauty in what’s going on here. Sparse, gorgeous instrumentation and two voices that blend achingly well. [8/10]
Steve Horowitz: “I’m a pool of tears on our wedding day,” they sing. They are not fools in love, they are just fools as the song drags on. After the joy of finding each other, they seem more interested in their feelings than the other person. The drolly sung vocals, repeated lines, and unchanging instrumentation just says the same thing over and over again with limited expression. Too cool. [5/10]
Chad Miller: The opening is monotonous and boring, and it doesn’t flow into the chorus very smoothly. The best part of the song happens in the accompanying instrument’s parts. They provide some much needed energy to the track. [4/10]
Pryor Stroud: Quaint, saccharine, and melodically pristine, this cross-pollination of purist singer-songwriters is an exchange of vows whispered under the penumbra of a swaying tree. The wind is blowing, sifting through the leaves and caressing them toward a free-fall, but neither Beam or Hoop’s quiet, winsome lyric is overpowered; each is too principled, too direct and from-the-heart to be lost to the passing dictates of a breeze. The loping hand-picked guitar flurries seem to express the joy of moving at will when everything else around you is tossed and steered away by errant winds. As the song concludes, Beam and Hoop share in the total satisfaction they take in each other, “Ooo-hoo enough / Ooo-hoo it’s enough / To be walking with you,” and it’s hard not to walk away feeling this contentment as well. The song nearly succumbs to its own free-floating, bucolic prettiness, but it’s too pleasant and sincere to cast aside as a mere trifle. [6/10]
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop‘s album Love Letter for Fire releases April 15th via Sub Pop.