"Sing like your life depended on it." Someone must have told Nathaniel Rateliff that once, and he decided to do just that ever since. Music lovers will be forever grateful because Rateliff and his band, the Night Sweats, provide rollicking, propulsive soul music reminiscent of Otis Redding. Their sound may be a throwback, but its modern edge refreshingly lacks polish. It is this raw, devil-may-care attitude that runs through the tracks of their debut and made me an instant fan.
When Rateliff sings about needing a drink with such emotion and abandon on stand-out track, "S.O.B.", I went looking through my liquor cabinet to help this man out. What may seem like a profane hook is in fact a desperate plea to ease the pain of a broken heart.
Backing band The Night Sweats provide harmonies, handclaps, and horns that transport the listener to another period when actual instruments(!) were used to make music. Never before have I heard a band with such presence than The Night Sweats. Nathaniel Rateliff will not be to everyone's taste depending on how well you like the stylings of fellow throwback artists like Fitz & the Tantrums and Leon Bridges, but those comparisons should not deter anyone from experiencing the sheer force of nature that is Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.