Nick Waters is one of those solo artists whose music sounds like a four-piece band. On his recent release Dream State the instrumentation isn’t only all organic but sounds live. I guess we can thank digital recording for Waters to be able to do this in a day and age when you can have as many takes or overdubs that you can imagine.
Dream State contains twelve songs, which fit under the umbrella of garage rock. For anyone even remotely familiar with the band The Strokes you will hear a number of similarities. Waters often sounds like Julian Casablancas and even sometimes covers his vocals in a similar type of distortion. That being said Waters does have a number of songs that deviate from the fun, garage rock sound.
The production on Dream State is decent and I'm willing to bet it is a complete DIY effort. It lacks the gloss you would expect from a professional studio. Overall, Waters does a pretty good job using sounds although a couple of tracks needed some obvious work.
The album starts off with some of Waters’ best songs. “Clouds” is a memorable tune revolving around infectious melodies and memorable lyrics. It also happens to be one of Waters’ best sounding songs from an aesthetic perspective as well. Waters sounds good singing when he sings within his range. He occasionally tries to hit higher notes and the result isn’t always flattering. Despite the occasional off-key note he still does a good job overall.
“Broken” is another solid song with an inventive lead guitar riff and it has an upbeat almost reggae feel. The cascading interesting vocals are also a nice touch. ”Low Touch” has a couple of decent moments while “On My Way” is overly distorted.
Waters takes an engaging turn with “The Last Time” which revolves around electronic drums and warm synths. It was an unexpected vibe. Waters has some success with “Absolutely” and the exceptional “Starfish.”
Waters will want to ramp up the recording quality at some point if he wants to compete with the big boys. He will also want to try and distance himself from sounding too similar to The Strokes which he does on some songs but on others seems like they could be B-sides for the band. Waters has some talent and potential.
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