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Nathan K. - Dishes Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 9.5
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 7.5
Final Verdict: 81%
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Nathan K. - Dishes

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (08/29/12)
Nathan K. - Dishes
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: June 26, 2012


Nathan Klages, who performs under the stage name Nathan K. is a singer/songwriter from Ypsilanti, MI. Dishes is his second full-length and fourth release since 2010. Though he currently plays in the dance-pop band Stepdad, Klages hangs his hat on being a singer-songwriter and Dishes proves exactly that.

From the opening strains of "For Your Own Good" one can hear that this entire effort is winsome, acoustic and deeply felt. Reading more like a novella, "For Your Own Good," is an absolutely astounding opening salvo and the very thing that makes Nathan K. an artist worth paying attention to.

"Ghosts," is a rootsier effort that as its name implies is slightly haunting. The song seems to be meant for corners and hallways and when Klages sings "You are a beam of light," it is as if he is trying to hang on to those exact words. As if the nouns themselves will comfort him. And it is there that the song truly hits home.

"Dishes," begins rather tepidly but roots itself in the painstaking honesty of the lyrics. Who can argue with lines like, "And there are pages of your memories that you've always skipped, like a bill taped to your fridge that you ignore. But it's not gonna get paid now on its own. And I've got a sink full of dishes that are never clean. Cause I can't quite seem to set aside the time. And I've got a long list of good friends that I never see. And I'd hate to think I know the reasons why." If a title track is supposed to be a summation, or a thesis statement, than "Dishes," excels in every sense.

After three dense and cerebral offerings, Dishes picks up steam on "Leave Them," which opens with a foot-tapping strum and a dedicated sense of pacing. It works well and at least gives the album a chance to breathe and feel free. But stacked against the rest of the disc it doesn't hold up too well. If it has any true merits its the latter stages when Klages croons gently and soothingly.

The disc's apex though is "Bob Seger," a bare-bones and brilliant stab at the power of music to triumph over adversity. There's not much to the song. A fragile voice, an acoustic guitar and nothing but pure, unadulterated honesty. This is the essence of what makes Natan K. so damn compelling, and it is why "Bob Seger," is Dishes' true centerpiece.

"Hospital Walls," is more or less the title track version 2.0 and works well because of first-rate lyrics and an earnestness that is warm and engaging. "Phonebooks," works well with what it is but can't stand up next to its gorgeous successor "Criminal," an absolute knockout and something that feels like the next coming of Kevin Devine. The disc closes out with "Womb," a roughhewn and homespun effort and arguably Dishes' second best outing.

If Dishes has a flaw it is Klages' vocals, which are fragile, thin and contained. But unlike man vocalists who don't seem to understand their own limits, Klages knows when to pull back and never tries to do more than he can. And it is that simple fact that makes Dishes so worth the repeated listens.

Understanding Dishes as an album though is far more than what it appears to be. Recorded during the winter in a hospital, Dishes was a record of solace. During the middle of a tour, Klages came home to early to spend time with his ailing grandfather. At his request, he sang, played guitar, violin and banjo to comfort him during the last few weeks of his life. Unable to sleep, Klages recorded the songs on a four-track recorder and let the creativity unfurl.

After the funeral, he resumed touring and at the advice of a friend was urged to put the songs on an album. While many albums have been made to solace those feeling pain, few are as raw, honest and genuine as Dishes. Though it probably won't stretch beyond the confines of the state of Michigan, one can only hope this album reaches out to others. If this review is to accomplish anything it is simply that. Listen to this record, understand it and then pass it along. Dishes deserves that kind of reward.

Recommended If You Like Kevin Devine, Denison Witmer, Michigan winters


Find Him Here http://www.nathankmusic.com
 
Displaying posts 1 - 3 of 3.
07:23 PM on 08/29/12
#2
Nardes
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this guy is a joke! saw him perform at a show and he made a total fool of himself. all he did was loop instruments to the point where it was deafening and then scream into the microphone. I must say I'm very curious to see what good you are finding in this album though....

EDIT:

having listened to it... mehh.
10:05 AM on 08/30/12
#3
Quijiba
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this guy is a joke! saw him perform at a show and he made a total fool of himself. all he did was loop instruments to the point where it was deafening and then scream into the microphone. I must say I'm very curious to see what good you are finding in this album though....

EDIT:

having listened to it... mehh.
some pretty harsh criticism, will have to check it out
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