Nathan Watson – Student Of Life | EP Review

Having gigged around London last year, including a headline show at Jazz Cafe and a supporting slot for Melanie Fiona at the Luminaire last month, Stevenage hailing UK soul newcomer Nathan Watson provides an introduction to his music with his new EP Student Of Life, featuring four tracks and two mixes/remixes of his debut single ‘Reach Out (You’ve Got A Friend).’

The original ‘Reach Out’ is a very nice mid tempo soul track with all the typical trimmings, instrumentally, you would expect of a live soul outfit. Although the production itself wasn’t quite as big as something released by a Major label, the song captures the spirit of the lyric well and acts a good showcase of Watson’s versatile voice and the musicianship of his band.

‘Soulsistacated’ reminds me very much of Van Hunt. It is an uptempo track, which features a nice synth solo in it. I would very much like to hear more of this side of Nathan Watson’s music, as I felt it suited his vocal style very well.

‘Proud To Be Your Man’ once again brings soulful instrumentation to our ears but not before it has started with just Watson’s voice and the keys, which left me wanting to hear what he would sound like on a barebones ballad. I felt the vocal wasn’t that well captured on this track and would have liked to a more close up vocal performance, as I think the track would have benefited from it.

‘Loveline’ has a very nice laid back soul vibe to it and is reminiscent of Maxwell’s earlier work. Once again, this is a side of Nathan Watson that I would like to hear more of, as it sets him apart from other people and is more interesting in its instrumentation and arrangement.

Closing the EP with two mixes/remixes of ‘Reach Out’, the Sed Soul Roots Remix stands out in particular, transforming the original with an authentic flavour:

All in all, Student Of Life is a good starting point to those unfamiliar with Nathan Watson’s music. Having seen him live, I don’t think it fully represents his image and his capabilities – I remember his falsetto in particular being a lot stronger than it is on these songs – but as he grows as an artist I’m sure he will explore and experiment and I look forward to hearing the fruits of this.

Student Of Life – The EP is released on January 31st, 2011 through Strawberry Moon Records.

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