Time to prison riot, gang! That bearded-rusty-husky voice behind 2015’s best 1930’s-jailhouse-withdrawl-detox-romp is back in action and he wastes zero time getting those feet a-stompin’ and those hands a-clappin’ (Literally… the stompin’ starts at 0:01 of track 1, which is appropriately titled “Shoe Boot”). Ugh, I’m a complete sucker for the ol’ stomp->clap->repeat. It may just be my beat of choice.
NR and the NSs feel like troubadours from another time. It seems to me that they really could have met in that jailhouse in the 30’s. OR they could be the band on a dusty street strumming washboards and drumming pails ala CCR’s “Down On the Corner.” OR they could be the footloose jived-up house band at a blind tiger in some conservative midwestern town that has outlawed dancing. OR they could be a modern band that have a knack for genre fluidity that makes them seem like time travellers. It could be any of these. Either way, Rateliff has a wonderful old-timey vibe in his voice. That is not an insult. If someone is using “old-timey” in a negative manner they are assuredly a terrible monster and shouldn’t be trusted.
Here’s 3 stand out tracks from this Nathaniel Rateliff joint:
Track 4 - “Say It Louder”: Man, this tune just floats along on it’s own breeze. So effortless. One of Rateliff’s signature moves is to make carefree music on which to position serious lyrical matter. That kind of dissonance doesn’t always succeed, but it works well for him: “Say it louder - Say it clear - Sometimes what you need is exactly what you fear.”
Track 7 - “Intro”: Props for making an entire four minute song named “Intro.” Classic misdirection. Bigger props for making it down. right. poppin’. Throw in a weird Thrilleresque opening laugh for good measure and it’s the perfect track for a meandering, directionless weekend adventure. (Keep an ear on those horns and organ -> They killin’ it).
Track 10 - “You Worry Me”: Strangely this is probably one of the least emblematic tracks as far as the Night Sweat’s overall sound, but as previously stated they are pretty dang great at trying on a lot of different sounds. This tune is a ghost that keeps haunting the back corners of my mind. Perfectly summing up that helpless feeling of being concerned for another human but not being able to do much beyond the worry. The way his voice pulsatingly floats over the second half of the verse lines really nails my feels to the wall.
Man, I would seriously love to be a Night Sweat. (Note to self: Develop loyal following of Musical Musings fans that will rabidly start a petition to get me inducted as an honorary Night Sweat). Every one of them is doing interesting stuff all up, in, and over the background of this album. Plus, even when their instrument isn’t called for, they get to be hummin’ or clappin’ or hootin’ or hollarin’ (Pick an in’ and they get to do it).
This group was already on my short list of Must-Get-To-Shows-In-The-Near-Future and Tearing at the Seams certainly helps them become a bigger priority. I bet these songs just pop in a live setting. Like an audible snake-inna-can. Explosive and fun. And scary. Nope...nix the scary… stick with explosive and fun!