Album Review: Nathaniel Rateliff’s “Falling Faster That You Can Run”

Keely Chisholm ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Nathaniel Rateliff

 Nathaniel Rateliff is a folk/indie singer-songwriter from Denver, Colorado. Falling Faster Than You Can Run is Rateliff’s fourth studio effort with four other bandmates.

The record gives off a strong singer-songwriter tone. The instrumentals aren’t fancy or busy and the arrangements are simple—often just vocals, guitar, and percussion. It’s a mellow record reminiscent of Ed Sheeran’s softer songs (e.g. “Lego House” and “Give Me Love”).

The songs flow well, with simple lyrics that sound natural. Rateliff’s voice carries the melodies and fits the stripped-down instrumentals—it’s clear, with an almost raw tone. Just like the simplicity of the guitars, the lack of embellishment puts the focus on the music and the lyrics.

The first three songs, “Still Trying,” “I Am,” and “Don’t Get Too Close,” introduce the soft indie sound, and while they’re good tracks, there isn’t much to distinguish them from each other. This can be said for several other tracks as well—“How To Win,” “Right On,” “Three Fingers In,” and “When Do You See” all have a similar feel. These are the kind of songs that would fit a going-to-sleep playlist—that isn’t to say they’re boring, but relaxing and soothing. All of them have nice buildups from the verses to the choruses, which keep them from sounding too flat.

Interspersed among these mellow tracks are a few standouts that hit with a bit more impact. The fourth track, “Laborman,” opens with a more definitive, louder sound and strong percussion to accompany the vocals. It stands out among the other songs, with a clear beat that makes it easy to clap along to. “Nothing To Show For” returns to the same up-tempo vibe after “How To Win.” “Forgetting Is Believing” stands out as well. The instrumentation is still simple, but the addition of strings in the background lifts the song and gives it a very different, almost airy tone.

The album closes with the title track, “Falling Faster Than You Can Run,” and isn’t what the rest of the album leads one to expect. It opens with a sequence of electronic-sounding notes combined with acoustic guitar chords that stay for the duration. Dynamically, it doesn’t move as much as the other songs, which makes for an ending that can be either flat or calming.

Overall, it’s a calm record, ideal for a quiet night inside after a stressful or long day. Rateliff will be making appearances in Europe over the next few days before returning to the U.S. mid-April, so keep an eye out for his tour dates this month.

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