On the Night Sweats’ 2015 ubiquitous debut — particularly the Platinum-certified single “S.O.B.” — the soulful R&B sounded as if it was plucked from deep within the Stax Record’s archives.
What wasn’t clear however was just how far the band had gone down the rabbit hole and made the nostalgic sound their own, rather than simply regurgitating the past.
But with Tearing at the Seams, there’s no doubt left.
The Night Sweats aren’t a genre-tribute band. They haven’t adopted a sound. Instead, they’re flat-out creating a new chapter in the story of modern soul music.
Song after song on Tearing at the Seams, Rateliff seems to drop lines that sometimes more than hint at the loneliness of the road, and the exhaustion of a non-stop tour schedule.
Eleven songs after they’ve started the band dives into its stirring title track “Tearing at the Seams” — which not only serves as the cap of the album but quite possibly as the most autobiographical song of the collection. Rateliff begins the track with the question “Did you think that I would break underneath the pressure,” and goes on to sing that, “From the heights of this hill, there’s a funny thing that no one else can see.” And by the time they reach the chorus, he reveals “It’s tearing at the seams of all that’s been.”
The band’s debut and their follow-up live album were both impassioned, adrenaline-filled anthemic collections and Tearing at the Seams certainly doesn’t put an end to that. But Rateliff and company have also gotten very real with their material. They may be singing songs that make audiences want to dance and lift their glasses to the rooftops, but they’re also tackling heartfelt sentiments amidst it all.