R&B | Soul | Folk
Former folk singer/songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff has found a backing band and reinvented himself as a soul revivalist. This album has all the trademarks of the golden years of rhythm and blues: a joyous brass section, shuddering bass lines, big choruses, that great vintage guitar tone. It’s even released via Stax Records, former home of Otis Redding and Booker T & the M.G.s, both of whom have clearly influenced this new release. There are also a few folky hints of Rateliff’s former life, such as ‘Wasting Time’ which bears a strong resemblance to ‘The Weight’ by The Band. Rateliff has a great voice, he’s got a good band behind him and he has a fair idea how to write a good tune (‘Howling at Nothing’ being a shining example). But about halfway through the album it strikes you that it’s a bit too stuck in the past. It’s fine to draw influence from the music you love but rarely can you capture it’s essence and match it’s quality. The album needs a breath of fresh air to bring something new. For his next release Rateliff needs to take notes from Paolo Nutini and Alabama Shakes on how to add an exciting modern twist to the warm vintage soul.