Album Review – Nathaniel Rateliff ‘And It’s Still Alright’

And It’s Still Alright’ presents Nathaniel Rateliff’s return to his solo career following the release of two LPs as Nathaniel Rateliffe & The Night Sweats. It also brings a return to a more sombre, acoustic and downbeat sound than that of The Night Sweats.

The melancholy sound isn’t hugely surprising since Rateliff says the album is about the death of his friend (musician Mark Swift) and the breakdown of his marriage. Hardly things to celebrate. Still, one of my favourite lines (from the end of a Naked Sunday record) is: “When I’m sad I don’t want to listen to happy songs, and when I’m happy I don’t need to.” So, all is not lost. The main issue will be that this album is unlikely to appeal to the following Rateliff has grown through his two Night Sweats albums. These sold a lot better than his previous solo albums – ‘In Memory of Loss’ and ‘Falling Faster Than You Can Run’.

The album opens with ‘What A Drag’ which is one of the best on the album. It has a great beat, a funky bassline and some nice slide guitar. The other stand out track is ‘Time Stands’ with the powerful chorus lyric “Time stand in a duel and I stand for you”.

Title track ‘And It’s Still Alright’ also contains some powerful, but painful, lyrics: “Only have to bury your friends. Then you’ll find it gets worse. Standing out on the ledge with no way to get down.” 

Rateliff’s poignant, baritone voice is perfect for a folk/acoustic album and his grief comes through. The only exceptions are tracks ‘Tonight #2’ and ‘Mavis’ which break away momentarily from the sorrow of the rest of the album, presenting a more uplifting view of the world.

Overall the album successfully tells the story of a man coming to terms with some of life’s most catastrophic events, and anyone who’s been in similar situations will certainly identify with it. It’s easy to listen to, melodic and has some good percussion moments. The record is out today.

Nathaniel will play the following UK and EU dates.

Sat 26th Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
Mon 27th Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
Tue 28th Birmingham, Symphony Hall
Wed 29th London, Royal Albert Hall
Fri 1st Dublin, Olympia

Reviewer: Chrissie Duxson

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