Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2015-06-29

Anyone familiar with Nathaniel Rateliff and his hushed solo albums will also know he has a soulful voice which he can belt out at a moment’s notice. That’s precisely what this new project was developed to showcase, and with a multi-instrumental backing band in The Night Sweats, he has to power to do it.

This is an album which will encourage you to develop your own hairy barrell chest and don your best denim. Full of stomping and blaring brass, you can certainly shake your hips more to the likes of ‘Howling at the Moon’ and ‘I Need Never Get Old’ far more than you could his introspective acoustic stuff.

However, there is a dark side to this new found soul and frivolity, with plenty of heartbreak and defiance. There is also the downtrodden and 'beyond help' feeling which comes with the fantastic ‘S.O.B.’, which has Rateliff as a makeshift pastor before his believers claiming: “If I can’t get clean I’m gonna drink my life away”. The darkness here is disguised by the fun, rapturous sound, but it’s weighted by the constant bellowing of “Son of a bitch”.

Throughout the album, he’s channeling the likes of Al Green and Otis Redding but with a touch of his own sound, soft in places and bracingly abrasive in others. No more clearly is this displayed than on tracks like ‘Look It Here’ and ‘Shake’, the latter of which has a great watery, reverbed solo - albeit a brief one.

This is a project which has been in the works for a while now, and if you’ve been following it you might feel let down. The stomp and swagger were present more in the live shows.Some of the songs here feel a lot more lightweight for being taken out of that atmosphere. However, if you’re coming to this for the first time, you’ll find plenty to enjoy and would be doing yourself a favour to check them out in the flesh.

Nathaniel Rateliff’s voice is captivating enough on its own, and while it might feel lyrically light in places, there are always spots of real poetry and rawness which make everything he’s produced musically worth snapping up. Whether you find yourself affecting his accent on tracks like ‘Mellow Out’ or simply bouncing your hips to ‘I’ve Been Failing’, you’re certain to have a good time with The Night Sweats.

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