Late next month, up-and-coming singer-songwriter Max Ater will release his sophomore EP Small Town to the masses. Planned for release via indie record label Prudential Records – which also lists the likes of Puddle of Mud, Flotsam and Jetsam and Dark New Day among its artists – the five song EP is an interesting new effort that, given the right support, could go a long way toward helping the Maine native become a mainstream pop star. This is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The album’s lyrical themes do just as much to support that statement as its musical arrangements. They will be discussed a little bit later. The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. It will also be examined later. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Small Town. All things considered, they make Small Town a big success for Max Ater.
Max Ater’s forthcoming sophomore EP Small Town is a record that could, with the right support, make this up-and-coming pop-country singer-songwriter a big mainstream hit. That is due in part to the musical arrangements presented throughout the five-song studio recording. All five arrangements are just as radio ready as anything currently being churned out by his more well-known mainstream counterparts. Case in point is the record’s opener and title track, which is a light, poppy tune that expertly walks the line between pop and country, almost blurring it in the process. At times, it conjures thoughts of Darius Rucker because of that ability to cross that line. At others, it lends itself slightly to works from Kenny Chesney while also lending itself just as easily to so many current Top 40 pop hits. ‘Easy,’ the record’s lead single, is even more pop-centered than the record’s opener with its electronics, piano lead and driving choruses. Solely in regards to this arrangement, it is an easy fit for any Top 40 station. ‘Summer Next To You,’ is one of the EP’s most blatantly country-esque composition. It lends itself easily to comparisons with Jake Owen, Brantley Gilbert and other similar acts. Much the same can be said of the record’s finale, ‘Light Up This Town.’ ‘Stay A Little Longer,’ the EP’s mid-point walks that line, too, though it leans more in the country vein than the pop side. Keeping in mind, the fact that these arrangements so easily lend themselves to Top 40 pop radio just as much as mainstream Country radio, there’s no denying that the arrangements alone show the big potential of Small Town. Of course the records musical arrangements are, collectively, just one part of what makes Small Town stand out. The EP’s lyrical themes are just as important to note in examining the record as its musical arrangements.
The lyrical themes presented in Small Town’s songs are relatively basic, and in turn are certain to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Simply put, the disc’s themes focus on the theme of romantic relationships. It’s that easy. The record’s opener is one of those songs that is about love found. That is obvious as Ater sings in the lead verse, “Standing on the front porch/Through the screen door/There’s you/There in the red dress…Good to see you, too/I’ve been waiting on a night like this/For so long/Put you in the front seat/Drive to the good beat/of your favorite song/tell me what you’re feeling/I wanna start healing/From a week gone long/I’ve been waiting for a night like this/For so long.” This is a man who is letting his woman know how much he appreciates her. Keeping that in mind, it’s sure to resonate with plenty of female listeners. It goes on like this from there on, with Ater singing about wanting to kiss said woman and just be wither. Again, this is certain to appeal easily to such a wide range of listeners. It is a surprise that it hasn’t already resonated with any major Top 40 stations. Moving on, ‘Summer Next To You’ is a more deeply emotional piece that comes across as a song of love lost. That is inferred as Ater sings, “We were driving 95/Watching the world roll by…./When you turned to me with your crying eyes/Tell me baby, do you really realize/These are the last days of us?” It’s the polar opposite of the record’s opener. Luckily, it is about as emotional as the EP gets over the course of its 17 minute run time. ‘Light Up This Town’ and ‘Stay A Little Longer’ are more upbeat both musically and lyrically. Keeping that in mind, the songs’ largely positive lyrical vibe, balanced with the one more emotional and contemplative moment (alongside ‘Easy’) give the EP overall even more mainstream accessibility. Add that to the accessibility of the record’s musical arrangements, and again, listeners get a record that has every reason to be considered by any mainstream Top 40 and country music station. The EP’s musical and lyrical content are only part of what makes it appealing. The record’s sequencing joins those elements to show even more what makes the record radio ready.
The overall sequencing of Small Town speaks volumes in itself about Max Ater’s new EP. It starts off on an upbeat note (no pun intended) before immediately pulling back in ‘Easy.’ The record’s energy picks back up just as quickly in ‘Stay A Little Longer’ before pulling back once more in ‘Summer Next To You.’ As the record reaches its finale, the energy picks right back up again. Simply put, the energy is balanced expertly from start to finish. It is never too reserved and never too upbeat for too long. It shows that plenty of thought and time was put into the record’s sequencing. When this is considered along with the obvious time and effort put into the record’s musical arrangements, and the accessibility of the record’s lyrical themes, the result is a record that proves Small Town could be a big success for Max Ater.
Small Town is a small offering from Max Ater, but given the right support, it could prove a big success for the up-and-coming pop-country artist. That is proven in part through its radio ready, accessible musical arrangements. All five arrangements expertly walk the line between pop and country. What’s more, their sound easily lends them to comparisons to some very familiar names. The lyrical themes presented throughout the record are just as accessible as the musical arrangements, proving even more the record’s appeal. The sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation. The balance in the songs’ energies makes the record just as appealing as its lyrical and musical content. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Small Town. When they are combined together, they make Small Town a potentially big hit for Max Ater. Small Town will be available Oct. 12 via Prudential Records. More information on the EP is available online along with all of Ater’s latest news is available online at:
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