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4.7 out of 5 stars27
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 September 2010
Nathaniel Rateliff is a singer/songwriter who deserves the listening
world's attention for his debut album 'In Memory Of Loss'.
Now I'm going to slow down for a moment. Pretty much anything
I might try to write in the next few paragraphs is not going to do
justice to a recording which has knocked me off my paws!

This is better than good, This is better than very good. I'd go as far
as saying that this is truly great music. It swoops straight down from
the air above and around you and connects directly with the heart.

Mr Rateliff hasn't got the most extraordinary voice in the world but
what he does with it wrings the last drop of feeling from each one
of the fourteen magnificent songs in this collection. Its a dark brown
(perhaps nearer to burnt sienna) instrument whose conversational
style brings a stirring authenticity to every word and every note.

Listen to 'Oil and Vinegar', before you delve deeper, for a poignant
taste of the subtle majesty of his craft. The hesitant lilting melody
and stripped-down arrangement reaches deep into an intensely
personal emotional world and quietly connects with something
far bigger and relevant to anyone with a lonely heart.
From bruised interiority to universality in a breath and a half.

There are more joys here than any one of us has a right to deserve.

Taking a few steps back, opening track 'Once In A Great While', with
its tinkling piano, haunting harmonica, violin, heavenly harmonies and
faltering vocal delivery, demonstrates compositional skill and
musical intelligence of the very highest order. When Mr Rateliff sings
of starlight we stare up into the night sky with him and feel the
weight and beauty of the galaxy bearing down upon us like a
warm and sparkling celestial counterpane. (His falsetto is a joy!)

'Longing and Losing' alternates between a chilly melancholy verse of almost
suffocating intensity and a more hopeful but still restrained gospel-like
chorus which offers just a little relief from the song's desolate core.

Lasting less than two minutes 'When You're Here' comes and goes so
quietly that it hardly stirs the the air around it. The kind of concentrated
miniature which only a master of their craft could even begin to imagine.

'Happy Just To Be' concludes the album on a more optimistic note.
It is a stunning song, whose timeless melody is more than a little
redolent of some of Lennon and McCartney's finest compositions.

This is music for which we need to make space in the soundtrack to our lives.

Essential.
22 comments|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
After reading a brief interview with Rateliff in this months Q magazine I thought I'd give his album a try and I have to say I am thoroughly glad I did.

He offers up some well constructed and captivating acoustic music. Favourite tracks have to be `Early Spring Till' which has a wonderful chorus and sublime backing female backing vocals and `You Should've Seen the Other Guys' with it's beautiful acoustic guitar and harmonica.

This is definitely one of those albums that gets better with repeated listening and if, like me, you are impressed first time round, just wait until the 7th, 8th or 9th listen. Rateliff manages to give us beautiful music, intelligent lyrics and a unique feel that will have you hooked in no time and wanting more. This is one of my best finds of recent months and I heartily recommend it.

Feel free to check out the interview with Nathaniel on my blog, which can be found on my profile page.
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on 13 August 2011
The title says a lot about what this album is about. It is a very downbeat album with NR's vocals at the forefront of the mix and the more-often-than-not acoustic guitar playing 'second fiddle' (excuse the pun). It's a very emotional album too which at times sees him literally crying out in anger, pain and loss. Some of the lyrics are very obscure and don't make any kind of sense such as on Longing and Losing, 'I'd must be a ruin, I must that I am, And don't shortsight it's worth, it comes to steal mine....'. Odd but interesting. The only other criticisms (if you can call it that) I can level at this album is that NR sings in a slightly disjointed faltering way, as if he doesn't have much faith in his own voice which is a shame because he has an amazing voice. He also has a tendency to harmonise using his own layered vocal which, to my ears sounds too robotic. It would have been much better to have used other singers to harmonise with. I am really being critical here as I really like this album. It's heartfelt and powerful and strangely, considering the subject matter, rather uplifting. Best song - You should have seen the other guy. Brilliant.
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on 19 August 2012
I purchased this album in preparation for the first ever Mumford & Sons' Gentlemen of the Road Stopover festival in Huddersfield, I was not disappointed. (The festival, and Nathaniel, was incredible by the way).

I shall keep this brief, but in short Nathaniel's music is quite stunning. You find yourself admiring the beautiful simplicity of his music and you'll be caught listening again and again. Excellent.
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on 2 December 2014
This album is so chilled. It is a meandering through acoustic cascades of folk-ish delights. The album is so beautifully crafted by Rateliff, if you're looking for an acoustic artist who could lull you into dreaminess, look no further.

This album is played and replayed and replayed in my room to no avail, money well spent!
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on 30 October 2012
I always love '1 man and his guitar' music. This is simple story telling with character and wonderful words. It has been very carefully filled in with other instruments but nothing takes away from his voice, lyrics and simple yet emotive guitar playing.

A rare album that I listen to start to finish...
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on 13 July 2011
Pretty good, slow burner album, not really any obvious standout songs, although I have kept coming back to'Brakeman' and 'Pounds and Pounds'. At sixteen tracks this is great value, and he has an amazing voice; the accompanyment serves to highlight it nicely. This could perhaps benifit from one or two slightly faster paced tracks which is why I gave it four stars. The album reminds me of 'Hospice' by The Antlers in so much as it doesn't work that well as part of a mixed playlist but really comes into it's own as an emotional, beautiful album to be listened to in a oner.
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on 10 November 2015
Nathaniel's music is truly unlike that of others. Songs written from the heart, with soul, beautiful lyrics and wow what a voice.
Nathaniel is perhaps underrated and appreciated, possibly this is his lot, however for me he is truly one of the best artists around.
His music will recharge your soul batteries.
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on 11 November 2015
This earlier album from Nathaniel Rateliff deserves repeated listenings to fully appreciate these quite wonderful yet at times melancholic songs.
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on 23 June 2010
What a refreshing album, something a bit different, mainly a great voice and acoustic guitar but with additional harmonies. lovely, a great late night record.
I had never heard of this guy but bought the LP on a website recommendation because the guy is like Gregory Alan Isakov and yes there is a similarity and also like the excellent Sumner Brothers (but more tuneful)
A truely melodic and soleful record with great melodies and a nice variation to every track and lots of pathos .
To be very honest the title of the album "in memory of loss" gives you a feel of the mood of the record, all in all a truely great Americana record probably one of my favourites this year along with John Grant's "Queen of Denmark", Johnny Flynn's "Been Listening" and Perry Keyes "Johnny Ray's Downtown" so highly recommended then!
11 comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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