Nathaniel Rateliff – In Memory of Loss


Heart-on-sleeve folkies are a dime a dozen these days — it’s getting to be Ke$ha-Katy-Perry-Lady-Gaga-level confusing. And in the same vein as Lady Gaga’s attention-seeking wardrobe and Ke$ha’s penchant for glow-in-the-dark face paint the folk singers need to find ways to differentiate themselves from their ever-growing peer group. Unfortunately Nathaniel Rateliff can’t find much to hinge himself to on In Memory of Loss .

The album’s first half is painfully slow-paced buoyed only by the emotionally wrenching "Early Spring Till" — the song that’s put Rateliff on the radar and on the radio. Other than that Rateliff navigates between being a more tolerable Ray LaMontagne and a poor man’s Nick Drake specifically on "Oil & Lavender."

The album’s middle section has a little bit of punch to it. "You Should’ve Seen the Other Guy" and "Whimper and Wail" both show Rateliff to have a sense of humour and a unique way of delivering his ideas. It’s just a shame it comes after many people will have tuned out.