This year, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats released their self-titled debut on Memphis, Tennessee’s renowned label Stax Records, home of legends like Otis Redding and Booker T. & the M.G.’s. While Rateliff’s previous work has been on the folk side of the musical spectrum, Rateliff has revamped his sound and teamed up with a talented crew called “The Night Sweats”; together, they’ve beautifully executed an 11-song stunner of 60s-inspired soulful style which was the soundtrack to my summer.
The album’s energy never wanes; the first song, “I Need Never Get Old,” brilliantly lays the soulfulfoundation which continues throughout.
Rateliff’s lyrics convey heartache and struggle, but he disguises the heavy subject matter in the midst of infectiously upbeat hooks and grooves, each song delivering dazzling sonic delight. In the first single from the debut, the foot-stomping “S.O.B.,” a tune drenched in heartbreak and the inability to avoid the lure of alcohol, Rateliff growls and wails about his troubles; at the same time, this tune is probably the most fun and danceable one on the entire record. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats is an instant classic, and should definitely be a part of your collection.