Nashville, Tennesseeâ€™s punk warlords Cheap Time soldier on, delivering their fourth studio album. Produced once again by band leader / singer / guitarist Jeffrey NovakÂ at his home studio, Exit Smiles builds off the sound of 2012â€™s Wallpaper Music, employing sharper production and more expansive songwriting. Along with danceable art-rock stompersÂ like â€śKill the Light,â€ť and â€śSlow Variety,â€ť the album also includes more progressive material like â€śModern Tasteâ€ť and the abrasive title track that opens the album.
Taking everything up a notch is new bassist Jessica McFarland (vocalist of Heavy Cream), whose voice is the perfect counterpoint toÂ Novakâ€™sÂ Bailey / DevotoÂ punk snarl.Â McFarlandâ€™sÂ tight bass playing fits right in the pocket betweenÂ Novakâ€™sÂ overblown guitar chords and drummer Ryan Sweeneyâ€™s endless,Â Moon-yÂ drum fills.Â Sweeney is Cheap Timeâ€™s backbone, an integral part of the band since 2010â€™s Fantastic Explanations. His drumming is powerful and relentless, especially on songs like â€śCountry and City.â€ť
Where most bands drag or burn out around their second album, Cheap Time are students of rock history. They tread in the footsteps of their â€™70s heroesâ€”like Sparks or Alice Cooperâ€”learning from the shortcomings of previous works and continuing to develop their craft. Theyâ€™ve worn out their John Cale and PeterÂ HammillÂ LPs,Â and finally delivered the classic punk album for 2013!