Following the successful release of his 2015 eponymous debut with The Night Sweats (solo material came prior to this), Rateliff and his Denver-native cohorts have barely had time to draw breath in between a hectic schedule that's seen them take their powerhouse blues-fuelled folk rock across the globe, let alone write and record an official follow-up. Hence, the release of this EP is a logical interim step to keep fans happy with additional material at the same time as reminding critics they've not disappeared altogether. Clocking in at eight tracks ¬- seven of these new - it could easily be considered more of an album, though slightly shorter than most at half an hour in length.
'Parlor' draws the listener in from the off with its rock and roll riffs and Rateliff's Southern vocal twang and, by the time the chorus rolls in, it's caught you hook, line and sinker. As he sings about watching 'every woman and her baby' dancing at the parlor the previous evening and 'not giving a damn', you swiftly realise you want nothing else but to be there as part of that number. Unfortunately, the night is only so long - as is this track - and it feels over far too quickly. 'I Did It' and 'Out On The Weekend - Version 2' happily continue in the same vein, with boisterous, soulful vocals alongside lively melodies punctuated by trumpet and saxophone bursts. The latter song in particular has the listener fighting the urge to get up and dance, and these infectious rhythms are an undeniably key reason as to why Rateliff's sound has become so popular, despite being rooted in a more traditional style.
However, following a live version of 'Wasting Time' from their first record, the tone takes a rather different turn, and the spirited pace that carried the first three tracks becomes significantly slower. 'Just To Talk To You' and 'How To Make Friends' focus more on Rateliff's yearning, blues-y vocals, and the instrumentals are more subdued and folk-driven; which, while stirring, don't quite possess the same compelling essence.
There's no track on this EP that will get a crowd going quite like there are on his first record ('S.O.B.' being a case in point), but overall it's wholly reflective of the sound and style that comprised his debut - and there's plenty here to keep fans happy, as well as lure in new listeners. When Rateliff and his Night Sweats eventually take a break from being on the road and spend some quality time back in the studio, there's no reason why they can't build on the solid set of tracks on offer here and create an impressive second album.