Nathaniel Rateliff has operated in many guises over the years, each with its own unique take on whatever genre he’s been focusing on. Whether its indie-folk from his early work, or his latest penchant for soul and R&B, Nathaniel throws himself deep into the music, and for this reason, his new EP with The Night Sweats is really something to behold.
Howling At Nothing leads us into the EP, and it’s a real eye-opener for people not familiar with the singer. Distorted vocals laden with a husky soul and spirited backing singers are accompanied by a rolling rhythm, melting its way into your heart. This track could have been straight out of the late 60s by The Band or Creedence Clearwater Revival, and shows a genuine love of music and a taste for emotion.
What I Need takes on the blues, and boy does it do it well. With its low horns, tinkling piano, and slow sizzling build-up, the track saunters along into a simple but effective chorus of subtly and sentiment – something Otis Redding would be proud of. The honesty in Nathaniel’s voice is brought to the forefront here, and really works against the blues connotations.
S.O.B is a spirited track built on handclaps and hums, with the simple melody and raucous vocals taking centre stage. It isn’t until four minutes in that conventional instruments are used, and it’s a joy to listen to the pressured build-up before it pops open into a wall of sound and satisfaction. The highs and lows along the way keep the track interesting and push the song along at the perfect pace.
How To Make Friends finishes off the EP by bringing you back down to earth with its chilled out vibe, relaxation and rolling bass. When set against the echo-laden slide guitar, the track gently rocks you like a baby, leaving you wanting more than the four tracks on offer.
The key to this EP is not being overproduced, and instead the music is left to its own devices. This speaks volumes for the craftsmanship that’s gone into these tracks and the reason it works so well. Nathaniel has really hit his highest point with this EP, and this gives up a promising glimpse of what we can expect to see from him in the future.