Album Review: Nathaniel Rateliff – Tearing at the Seams

Story by Justin Cameron

We’re in the middle of a blues-rock revival from the 60’s. What was previously led by the likes of Gary Clark Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, now has a new face in Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Their self-titled debut broke them onto the scene in 2016 with the catchy, danceable hits “S.O.B” and “I Never Get Old;” Since then, they have been busy tearing up the scene with their following release (later that year) and a live album from Red Rocks with Preservation Hall Jazz Band in 2017.

In 2018, they’re back and better than ever with Tearing at the Seams. Compared to their debut, this album is punchier and shows they’ve found a comfortable spot to play in. The horns really shine on tracks such as the swampy opener “Shoe Boot” and the strangely placed “Intro” (at the halfway point of the album), which features a screaming sax solo. The horns keep the album moving forward while the band’s tight playing keeps the groove and holds everything together.

The album features Lucius’ Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig on “Babe I Know” and “Coolin’ Out.” Their harmonies add another layer and fill out the band’s sound more than it already was. The highlight of the album is the groovy love song, “You Worry Me.” It showcases everything that makes the band great; it’s danceable and simple, yet catchy, and has the horns and drums pushing the song along with the bass chugging underneath.

Tearing at the Seams takes everything that made Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats great in the first place and improves on it. His voice soars over the top, the band is tighter than ever, and the horns give the album the needed push forward. It’s a modern spin on the classic, vintage sound from the 60’s.