The Future by Nathaniel Ratliff and The Night Sweats (Stax Records / Concord)
We’re not sure what the future holds, but if it sounds like “The Future,” we’re fine.
This is the title of Nathaniel Raiteliff and The Night Sweats’ gorgeous new 11-track vintage R&B album, bursting at the seams with fresh coolness. It has a sound that is rooted in the past without imitating it, a fresh, modern retro style that becomes clear when you listen to it.
“You have to dig a lot of holes to get into something deep / You have to sing a lot to know how to feel it,” sings Raithliff in the song “Something Ain’t Right”.
“The Future” marks something of a reunion between Rateliff and The Night Sweats, who spent 2020 apart while the frontman toured with his folk solo album And It’s Still Alright. This is Raithliff’s first album with Night Sweats from 2018’s Tearing at the Seams.
The Bob Dylan-style title track leads to the funky “Survivor”, the meditative “Face Down In the Moment” and the heartfelt “Love Me Till I’m Gone” with a “pale white” vibe. Other highlights include “What If Me” and “Love Don’t”. Each song is like a comfy pair of vintage jeans, perfectly lived-in.
The Night Sweats French Horns – Andreas Wilde, Jeff Daisy and Daniel Hardeway – are not added in the background like many French horns in the bands. Here they are so beautifully integrated, often lifting and carrying loads.
The lyrics explore cautious optimism in an unforgiving world. “I feel like I can heal,” sings Raithliff in the song “Oh Me.” He and his band do just that in The Future.
Mark Kennedy is in http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits