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Paper Diamond

Paragon
Elm & Oak Records

The latest album from Alex Botwin's exploratory band Paper Diamond begins with "The Intro," a song that sets a suspenseful mood and builds delicately through trap and house beats, propelling an Obie Trice sample over a hard bass line on the refrain "They can't tell me nothin'." This bleeds into finely tuned hip-hop tracks that nod to "Like a Summer Breeze" and sound like Botwin's personal take on late-'90s Dr. Dre. From there, Botwin aims for melodies that sustain the album's pulse and emotion. The closing track, co-produced by Protohype and appropriately titled "PaperHype," is exactly what you'd expect, with a spitfire hi-hat rattling behind a precisely timed bass drop that brings the whole album to a monumental conclusion, topped by this cherry: "The Outro," which soothes the ears for the wind-down and leaves you reaching for the replay button.

 
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