Sunday 15 February 2015

Nate Hall - Fear of Falling (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 24/11/2014
Label: Self Release

‘Fear of Falling’ track listing:

1). Heat and Sway
2). 77
3). The Travelling Sun
4). Fall
5). Fear of Falling


Nate Hall is the frontman of Appalachian space/folk/psychedelic rock troupe U.S. Christmas, who were head-hunted by Scott Kelly over ten years ago after he chanced upon one of their earlier releases, “Black Heart Bull”. They subsequently signed to Neurot Recordings and released some of the best psychedelica I've known of in recent years. USX, as the band are known, have been laying low for a few years, but Nate Hall has been quietly productive. His collaboration with Poison Snake, “Fear of Falling”, released at the tail end of last year, is his third release in two years, following on from the folky “A Great River” and the noisy, feedback-drenched “Electric Vacuum Roar”.

It's nearly quarter of a century since Neil Young, following a shaky decade of controversial albums, releasing the landmark “Ragged Glory” in 1991. Hall channels the Ontarian's spirit on this release, with its wandering guitars, drawn-out Americana jams and soulful lyricism. It's more ragged than ‘....Glory’ though - and this owes a lot to Nate's affection for 90's indie rock legends Caustic Resin, both in his vocal ululations and the plodding (in a good way) nature of the music.

Yet it's not just wonderful overdriven guitar jams we are treated to on this release. The centrepiece of the album, “The Travelling Sun”, had been released on a 7 inch with Scott Kelly a few years ago, but it's great to see it saved from potential obscurity and given a fresh tinge. “You won't mind, when I leave today” howls a ghostly Hall over a backdrop of almost agonizingly strummed electric guitar, in what is arguably his most outstanding ballad he has ever accomplished. A mean feat, given the quality of “Fire is Sleeping” off USX's “Run Thick in the Night” and the title track from 2012's “A Great River”.

Like Hall's last two releases, “Fear of Falling” was knocked out in the studio in just a day, giving the music a feeling of immediacy and spontaneity. The production is huge – the guitars are cavernous and expansive on “Fall”, whereas the bass jumps about without license with sumptuous abandon. In an era of manicured tones and anodyne pro-tooled songs, this is as refreshing as it is honest.

Nate Hall's music deserves to be heard by many more than it already is, and at this rate he is on his way to becoming something more than an unknown legend
Words by: Jack Taylor

You can pick up a copy here

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