Nathan Masterpiece Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

It’s no masterpiece, not yet, but frequently Nathan comes damn close.

Adam Webb 2007

That title is quite a statement for a debut album, but the UK’s brightest young contender has just about pulled it off. It’s no masterpiece, not yet, but frequently Nathan comes damn close.

Held back by all sorts of label shenanigans - the single “Come Into My Room” was all over radio in 2004, and half the album has been re-recorded since last October – the London-based singer has endured a stop-start trajectory to his career. Not that you’d know it from the opening cut– “Round & Round” exudes confidence from the speakers as dense harmonies, shifting beats and Nathan’s sweet, sweet vocal get the ball rolling.

Promisingly, the remainder is mostly killer, no filler. Production, courtesy of Syklone, is generally two cuts above – the likes of “Get To Know You Better”, “What’s Your Name” and “Everybody Needs Somebody” easily holding their own next to Salaam Remi’s touch on “Snatch”. An unlikely cover of Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” is transformed and “Cold As Ice” still sounds like an anthem in waiting.

Nathan’s influences are not always transcended, but this is genuinely trend-bucking stuff and a potentially groundbreaking piece of work – a UK R&B album that doesn’t stand in the corner and apologise for itself, and one that can step up to the plate with the best of the US competition. Masterpiece has the potential to achieve globally what no other homegrown artist has since the days of Sade and Loose Ends.

Quite simply, this is the best homegrown R&B album for a generation. A case of goodbye Craig David and hello to Usher.

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