CD Review: Neil Nathan “The Distance Calls”

Neil Nathan’s debut record, “The Distance Calls” merges 70s-style jangle pop with modern singer/songwriter smarts. The fusion is best exemplified with his gorgeous take on the E.L.O. classic “Do Ya”, which Nathan has stripped down to bare essentials. It is a brilliant interpretation of a jubilant pop song, and nod to Nathan’s core musical influences. The CD itself, which looks like a vinyl record, is another nod to the era Nathan embodies.

“This is the first record I’ve done where there’s a balance to my sound. Bobby [Harlow] was able to successfully marry my harder rock side with the singer/songwriter in me,” says Nathan. “The Distance Calls” contains songs that will appeal to a wide audience, including fans of Cat Stevens to Matthew Sweet.

Nathan’s vocals could easily be mistaken for Cat Stevens at times – most notably on the aching ballad, “Don’t Walk Away”. But Nathan does more on this record than pull at the heartstrings with his sincere balladry – he can make you want to get up and dance, like on the bluesy rockers “Get On” and “Never Enough”. Additional highlights on “The Distance Calls” include the cheery jangle of “California Run”, the catchy mid-tempo anthem, “When The Rain Falls”, and the powerpop gem “Too Late”. And just when you think Nathan might have run out of steam, he perks you up with another sizzling roots rocker, “Better Be Goin'”, which reminds me of Bread when they rocked out.

“The Distance Calls” will be available August 24, 2010.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 13

Neil Nathan on MySpace. Official site.