If you were reading my reviews last year you will know that I adored the previous album from, NateWantsToBattle, Sandcastle Kingdoms. It was a great effort and I even ended up putting it on my best of 2017 list. Ever since, Nate himself has been full force with his music career, playing shows and recording new music, announcing that he had a new album in the works. Fast-forward to now and his new album, Paid In Exposure is out and... I have mixed feelings about it. After listening to it a few times, I'm slowly getting more into it. Yet, after enjoying Sandcastle Kingdoms almost instantly, it's a little disappointing that the follow-up isn't as gratifying. Although, it's not without its merits and there some genuinely good songs on here.
I will say that the production on the album is good. Everything is solid and tight, so the songs sound decent and the performances are well done, with the vocal performance standing out really well. Although at times there's a weird vocal effect on Nate's voice and it doesn't sound that great. The effect never really fits with the tone of the song and I would have preferred it without. There are some parts of the album that feel outstanding but there's little bits here and there that stop it from being as good as the previous. Like the synthetic sounding guitars that are a little restrained and I wish it had more bite.
That all being said, I have been listening to it a tonne and that's because the songs are really good. Nate certainly knows his way around a hook and this album is full of fantastic tunes that will get stuck in your head for days. Songs like, "Smoke and Guns" and "Phantom" have bold and catchy hooks that are well executed. Also "Dream Alone" is a fiery energetic tune that I've really been enjoying. Every time he comes in with one of those big choruses, the production sounds excellent. Every element designed to stick in your head more and more.
I would say it's a pretty decent album, although I did like the last album a little bit more. There's just one too many times where it could have used a little bit more bite and it never came. It's a decent, catchy pop-punk album. As Nate continues to grows as an artist, I hope he experiments more, I'd like to see how he would take on different genres, concepts, themes and ideas. He is a fascinating artist to keep an eye on and I would recommend you watch him as well.