Its no mean feat to silence a crowded bar of revellers, especially when you’re playing moody alt-folk. Yet that’s what Nathan Ball managed to do a couple of weeks ago at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club. Third to play amongst a talented line up, there was a haunting depth to his/their sound that you couldn’t help but pay attention to. It was the first night of a 3 month residency and you’d do well to get along to one of the other nights. Failing that, his recorded tracks are equally affecting.
There’s a striking polish to Nathan Ball’s sound. Striking but not surprising, given that he has been playing for over ten years. He supported the likes of alt-J and Amber Run as a lone gun before forming a band and releasing two EPs. Echo EP came first. Its eponymous track serves as the perfect showcase, from Nathan’s stirring vocals to a tumultuous close reminiscent of the very waves from which he draws inspiration. Four Years has a softer acoustic feel to it whilst Shadow Girl brings the EP to a crashing close. Whereas Echo EP sat atop the waves the Howling EP lies deep beneath them. Moody currents run throughout the opening track before diving to the inky depths of Alone. Reminiscent of a fellow folk troubadour who also found inspiration on the Cornish seaside, it’s equal parts haunting and hypnotic. So Long brings the EP to a fittingly brooding close.
There is a real quality here, if it remains allayed with enough variety then we will be hearing a lot more of Nathan Ball.