NATHAN SEECKTS THE HEART OF THE CITY

Tailing the stirring acoustica of 2016’s A Man Possessed EP, the debut solo LP from Nathan Seeckts delivers on the Geelong-based troubadour’s every golden promise—with added, powerfully expressive electric guitar textures reminiscent of local alt. country heroes Raised by Eagles. Seemingly hewn from Bellarine Peninsula basalt, Seeckts’ vocal is imbued with all the heartworn grit of Deer Tick’s John McCauley, grounding an albumthat’s alternately heaving, shivering and jangling with feeling. Largely recorded in two days, it’s an album of gut-punch immediacy, as Seeckts directs his formidable pen to topics ranging from domestic violence (the powerful ‘Sirens’), to the impact of a senseless murder on a small town community (affecting storytelling masterwork ‘Moonlight Creek’), to substance abuse (the sweetly-sad ‘I’m Your Queen’, with its daubs of fiddle and a gorgeous guest vocal turn from Gretta Ziller).Whether punching out a heartland belter (‘Thunder and Rain’) or immersed in a nostalgic reverie (‘Three Soldiers’), Seeckts delivers songs of immense humanity, compassion, and catharsis. Gareth Hipwell