It was no secret that the new album from Nathaniel Rateliff would take on weightier subjects than what you’ll find in his work with the Night Sweats. Rateliff was open about the central role that dealing with the breakup of his marriage and the loss of a close friend played in writing the songs for the album. The singles that were released ahead of the full album certainly lived up to the expectations that the artist had set for the project. Now that the rest of the album has been released, listeners get to experience the work as a whole.
The theme of loss is central to the new record. It makes an appearance in every track and Rateliff examines each with a mature and measured gaze. The result is an album that is personal, vulnerable, and beautifully moving. By speaking to his own loss so carefully, he creates something that can speak to us all.
Even with the focus on loss, the album ends up saying something about what we gain through grieving and acceptance. That balance gives the project completeness and power that make it a fitting tribute to friends who’ve left and loves lost.