Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nathaniel Rateliff - In Memory of Loss

This album should be nothing new to anyone that reads Windfarm, and while I've mentioned it a number of times, I am just now getting around to reviewing the record, four months after it came out. Denver based Nathaniel Rateliff released In Memory of Loss on Rounder Records at the beginning of May, and has received a good deal of acclaim nationally for it, so you likely don't need my opinion to sway you one way or the other.

I find it hard to describe the record without going way overboard with wordy descriptions, but it projects a somber tone throughout, buoyed by well placed lyrical phrasing and nearly impeccable harmonies. A couple of months ago, H. and I drove through the Kiowa National Grasslands in northeastern New Mexico while listening to this album, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to listen to the record again without it conjuring those stark and vast landscapes in my mind. In Memory is a soundtrack to loneliness that for some reason perfectly fit with that landscape. The lyrics are such that they seemingly could have been written a hundred years ago in that very place and setting, and you wouldn't question their authenticity.

As I've mentioned before, some of Rateliff's best material didn't even make it on to this record, apparently because they are slated for a follow-up release in some form, supposedly in the relatively near future. If you have not done so, I highly recommend you check out "Shroud" and "Pounds and Pounds" from the band's Daytrotter sessions (here and here). Those sessions are free, but I can't recommend strongly enough that you pick up a copy of this amazing full length record.

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