It wasn’t long ago that that Nick Waters released Dream State. According to his Bandcamp page it came out in June. Waters has obviously been diligent about his progress as a musician because his latest release Cycles contains eleven new songs.
The production sounds a bit better this time around. Things like a refined snare sound and more defined low-end were noticeable to my ears. The songwriting isn’t head and shoulders above Dream State but there were a couple of gems that showed Waters seems to getting better and more comfortable.
The EP is a bit scattered. Waters goes from fun, loose Strokes-esque garage rock to acoustic based reverb laced melancholy. The juxtaposition isn’t too disparate but it is noticeable.
Perhaps the biggest mishap is the intro “Mariposa (Intro)” not because it’s a bad tune but it isn't indicative of anything else on the album. It’s a warm, electronic-based song with a deep kick drum, squiggly synths and lacking any vocals. The next track “Canyon Beach” revolves around organic sounding drums, space-echo-y guitar and an exceptional vocal melody. It’s upbeat and catchy. Waters continues to display he can write a catchy tune with “Sunken Pleasure.”
“Wish You Would Notice” starts with a melancholy vibe and eventually gains more instrumentation and transitions to a hopeful second half that contains overlapping vocal harmonies. “Let You Down” had some great guitar picking that reminded me of Radiohead and Waters was singing falsetto. He sounded decent except I couldn't make out a word he was saying. “Ego Waves” is a highlight, which is upbeat and plays into Waters’ strength while “Temporary Fix” is a warm closer.
Waters has made some improvements with this album but Cycles is still far from perfect. This is an incremental increase and not a huge leap forward. I think it might be a matter of time before he releases the album that defines his sound.
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