Nathaniel Rateliff - Falling Faster Than You Can Run Album Review
Following on from 2010's 'In Memory Of Loss', 'Falling Faster Than You Can Run' is the second full-length album from Denver dwellers Nathaniel Rateliff. Whilst it may be full of passion and is unquestionably delivered with stirring emotion it never manages to fully connect. Try as I might, and believe me I've given it plenty of tries, 'Falling Faster' seems to have lost something in translation as it's made its way across the Atlantic. There is no engagement, very little to capture you and hold you, and a sense on some tracks that they, Nathaniel Rateliff and the band, may have tried too hard.
It may be the subtleties and nuances that are intrinsically found in some British or American music that make it difficult to assimilate or it may be in the production or mix, but the overall album lacks coherence and is, aside from a few notable exceptions, difficult to like. Nathaniel's voice is a fine instrument full of soulful, rasping tones and the band are undeniably skilled artists in their own right, and if you take each song apart you'd find it difficult to pin-point just quite why the whole package doesn't quite come together neatly.
There are good songs trying to get out but, for whatever reason, they have been stifled by a need to overly deconstruct them ('How To Win' or 'When Do You See''). Just when you feel the songs are going to grab you, just when you feel a bit of embellishment wouldn't go amiss, they wilt and leave you wanting. It's not the pace, the lyrics or the quality of the players, but in the main it is the lack of a killer lyric, a hook or even a harmony that lets 'Falling Faster' down.
Where the band let themselves go a little, where they make it work, is on the more obvious, more immediate and more instantly likeable songs. The album opener 'Still Trying' suggests to you that it's going somewhere but it never quite kicks in. 'I Am' nearly gets there with its timid enhancements as does, rather ironically, 'Don't Get Too Close'. Only on 'Nothing To Show For' do Nathaniel and his band do themselves anywhere near justice. There is pace and passion throughout in a song that has been allowed to spread its wings and soar. "While you don't listen you just stare, it's not pealing it's a tear, and it's distance and it's where", Nathaniel belts out in an anguished voice to the full throttle backing track (in comparison to the rest of the album, it's positively anthemic).
The atmospheric title track rounds off the album nicely enough but you are still left underwhelmed and short-changed from the 11 tracks that promised much but, in the main, didn't deliver. The elements are all there, they just failed to metabolise into a good album making it all the more disappointing because you know they are capable of better.
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