Release Date: Sep 17, 2013
Record label: Mod Y Vi Records
Nathaniel Rateliff has a voice that has been lived in. Not the wracked pantomime of a Tom Waits–showground-backwoods-hobo, but a voice that has nonetheless been weathered, battered; whose owner has stayed up too late doing too many fun things. It is with warmth and oak-aged mellowness that his rusty pipes tackle this collection of bruised acoustic songs.
There's a lonely whippoorwill feel to Nathaniel Rateliff's second album, as though he wrote it all in a woodland clearing near the log cabin home of Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. What he can see in his peripheral vision, however, is Mumford & Sons, stomping and a-hollering around a campfire. Rateliff's songs shuttle in mood from the one to the other: Still Trying and How to Win are soft, sorrowful things, his voice crying out in the emptiness, "I don't know a goddamn thing." Don't Get Too Close and Nothing to Show For are raucous and impassioned, his voice nasal over stabbing chords and pummelling drums.
Well, it doesn’t take long for Falling Faster Than You Can Run to reveal that Nathaniel Rateliff isn’t in a very good place. His deep funk is revealed very quickly on the opening track ‘Still Trying‘: “If you roll in it long enough/your shit won’t even smell” sings Rateliff, in between crying out, unaccompanied, “I don’t know/I don’t know/a god damned thing”. And that’s the feeling that sticks throughout this, often very fine, new record from Denver, Colorado’s Missouri-born Rateliff.