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Repeatedly throughout The Future Nathaniel Rateliff’s wonderfully gruff voice erupts into a riveting howl – of anger, of desperation, of hope – to reveal a volcanic heart in the process of unburdening. With his precision combo, the Night Sweats, providing a polished update of a classic soul band, he ranges far and wide stylistically, venting nonstop. “Love Don’t” rides a surging Motown groove as he searches for a “new way,” while “Baby I Got Your Number” recalls Bill Withers’ late-night best, and the rousing gospel swell of “Something Ain’t Right” finds him confessing, “Each time I’m alone, I just try to calm myself down.” Like the great Sharon Jones and her Dap-Kings before them, Rateliff and his crew deftly blend modern urgency and traditional sounds with smarts and finesse. Mercy!
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