Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Tearing at the Seams
R&B | Americana
As much as I may try to give albums plenty of chance to sink in before I commit to a review, sometimes it just isn’t enough. Some albums take years to grow on you, and some songs only click for you once you’ve heard them live. One of my biggest regrets with this site is not scoring Nathaniel’s debut higher, as looking back with hindsight after seeing him live and giving it chance to grow I feel like I underestimated it. Surprisingly though I find myself committed to making that same mistake all over again with the follow up Tearing at the Seams. The record is slow to get off the ground, as with the exception of the charming ‘Say It Louder’ there’s an unusually high concentration of filler in the first half.
The second half certainly picks up the slack; not enough to make it a great album, but more than enough to share some great moments. ‘Intro’, which frustratingly sits in the middle of the damn record, feels like something from the Blues Brothers. This all singing, all dancing rhythm and blues is the most infectiously feel-good track you’ll hear all year and perfectly captures their live energy. The title track feels like a classic Motown ballad that you can just picture drifting in straight from the early sixties, while lead single ‘You Worry Me’ see Nathaniel offering his first taste of a more contemporary sound, complete with pulsing bass lines and uplifting piano. The glorious highs make me feel like Nathaniel has a truly classic album in him somewhere, but all the filler leaves me wondering whether he’s not an “album artist” at all and is all about big hits and bigger live antics. Who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll see this album in a different light… it wouldn’t be the first time.