In the Post #138: Nathaniel Rateliff lets his audience get a little ‘Closer’, the title track of forthcoming EP

By on Thursday, 27th November 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Nathaniel Rateliff is known for his brutally honest, rough-around-the-edges style of songwriting. His themes are often dark, and his music is suitably heavy in tone and color, even when the tempo is a little more upbeat. However, his new recording of live favourite song ‘Closer’ feels lighter and less cumbersome than what I’ve heard from him in the past. It’s the title track from his upcoming EP of the same name, which is billed as “Rateliff at his most stripped back and personal”. And if it’s any indication of what the rest of the EP holds, it is a bit of a change in direction from his last album, ‘Falling Faster Than You Can Run’, which I reviewed here back in January.

Rateliff couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate time to release his winter-themed new single, which with its exposed vocals and minimal instrumentation draws to mind trees stripped bare of their leaves by cold November winds. In fact, the first minute or so of the song is entirely a cappella, with the acoustic guitar melody finally echoing through as if from a distance, even creating a slight discord at times with the vocal line. Rateliff’s lyrics are likewise seasonal and bittersweet, for example, the lines “wishing it was summer / weathering this slow pace / come on, stop crying / wipe the ice from your face / I don’t mind the freeze as long as you’re here to hold me / this blanket of frost has got to melt I know” in the first verse. Despite the thematic chill, Rateliff’s vocal delivery conveys a sense of hopeful warmth. His voice is both richly textured and slightly rough, wrapping around the listener’s ear like a warm scarf as he sings the repeated chorus, “we’re closer now, we’re closer now than we’ve ever been”.

8/10

‘Closer’ is the title track from Nathaniel Rateliff’s new EP, due out on the 26th of January 2015 on Mod y Vi Records. Rateliff will tour the UK and Ireland in January 2015; you can find all the details here.

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