Nathan Mathes is an indie folk singer-songwriter from Green Bay, Wisconsin who exudes a lack of ego in his music. Recorded with care in his basement studio, the arrangements are lush and gorgeous. Stylistically he sits comfortably between Eliott Smith, The Eels, and Bon Iver, and I can safely predict that fans of each artist will take a strong liking to the material on Nathan’s new CD release “Roselawn”.
“Your Love Will Set Me Right” sets the tone with a simple shaker, an acoustic, and an unassuming lead piece. Lyrically, the poem here is every woman’s superficial dream (“Girl, your love will set me right”), but it comes across as something much deeper and more profound; an ode to the living soul in another person. Added to the beauty of the main Elliott Smith-esque lead vocals are the unconventional, haunting falsetto backup “Ooohs”, which give the song a unique character. “Just As Long As I Got You” shares the same sense of devotion and unwavering faith in a lover. The arrangement is sublime. The simplicity of the beat and the warmth of the guitar strums collide for an inspired piece, as Mathes consoles “It’s going to be alright”.
“Blue Jean Dream” remains more sparse, with only a solo acoustic guitar and Nathan’s vocals, and it’s just as effective, with a dreamy, content mood. “Maybe We’re In Love” really shows Nathan Mathes’ strength as an artist – communicating relationship-type love in an expanding way. His expression is that of a grounded dreamer. Someone who has experienced enough life to move through the cynicism stage and once again experience the wonder of companionship and what relationships truly offer us.
“To Not Be Sorry” caught my ear for it’s haunted, sullen feel, a song of deep reflection and one that seems to calmly leave the past behind. It breaks up the album nicely and Nathan’s obscure vocal lines bring you deeper into the piece. “Until The Sun Comes Up” is another shoegazing highlight, with it’s sparse electronic rhythm and dirty electric guitars backing up the soft lead vocals.
“Roselawn” is a stellar album, and one I’d recommend to any fans of Eliott Smith, The Eels, Bon Iver, and Fleet Foxes. Nathan Mathes’s passion and genuine contentment shine through on a CD that is a truly human work of art.
Download Just As Long As I Got You