Cartel
Chroma


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kif USER (11 Reviews)
March 7th, 2006 | 27 replies | 11,329 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Cartel were one of the bands lurking in the darkness of 2005, who had such a poppy and listener-friendly style, it's hard to believe they were never noticed enough. Today, it was announced that the band had signed to major gaints EMI, who will surely remind us of this wonderful collection of songs in the form of a re-issue, but that's not the point. The quintet's debut album was released last year and missed by so many people, but after hearing their 2004 The Ranson EP, I was intrigued.

They had clearly grown up. Gone were the poptastic melodies and almost lifeless lyrics that made the Blink-182 generation so popular. But half a decade later, it doesn't cut it as well. Instead, the band had clearly matured, putting more effort into chord progressions, lyrics and structure of songs. That's not to say they are not easy on the ears. The opening trio of songs are screaming to be sung by the masses, "Honestly" in particular has a chorus you can sing in comfort and with piles of energy. The vocals on this album shine well, and not because they are compared to Fall Out Boy's Patrick, but because the vocalist can sing well. I've seen live videos of them, and he sounds tremendous live.

The album has it's downer points though. It struggles to make each song stand out, and it feels like they tried to put that title on each song, causing most to be a musical crash of female backing-vocals, piano and "woahs". It doesn't really make the songs worse, but it makes it so much harder to listen to. I suppose Cartel's style isn't the kind you concentrate on, but still, it's nice to know what's going on where in an album. Another low point for me (But most probably not for anyone else) is the changing of two songs; "Save Us" and "Luckie St.". I heard the demo of "Save Us" and it sounded haunting and gave it more emotion, whereas this version sounds much more upbeat and in a way cheery. As for "Luckie St.", just listen to The Ransom EP for the original and much better version. Like I said, this are gripes I have. I'm certain they won't affect your listening experience.

Cartel's sound on this album feels like what All Killer No Filler would've sounded like if the Sum 41 boys put more effort into it. The melodies are fantastic, and the musicianship is equally impressive. There are quick-paced stories with screaming solos ("Settle Down"), a tearjerking ballad led by a pounding drum beat ("The Mistrels Prayer"), and perhaps the best song on the album, the 9-minute "Q", a mixture of all the previous songs as well as some incredible and epic pop-punk work. "Q" is what gives this album that extra .5 to me. It completes it in a way that stands out from the other pop-punk albums of 2005. It's Cartel's "Konstantine", and will be their anthem for years to come in my eyes.

Their sound may not be the most original, but Cartel have clearly put a lot of effort and thought behind this album. A clear improvement on their fun-yet-dated EP, Chroma is a delight to the ears of pop-punk fans everywhere, and I'm certain you will be hearing their names a lot more in 2006.

Recommended listening:
"Honestly"
"Settle Down"
"The Minstrel's Prayer"
"Q"

[url]http://www.cartelrocks.com/[/url]]
[url]http://www.purevolume.com/cartel[/url] (Songs from album: "Say Anything (Else)", "Honestly", "Runaway", "The Minstrel's Prayer")



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user ratings (230)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Bchop13 (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ktstein
March 7th 2006



438 Comments


I went to High School with these guys. They're HUGE dorks. I guess that's how they made it. Pretty cool to see your best friend's sister's boyfriend playing drums. Way to go Kevin! Haha!
Nice review by the way. I'm not usually into this kind of music, but being that i know these guys, i had to give it a try. I'm sure i'm a little biased, but hey, its not so bad. I've heard much worse pop-punk. They can write some pretty good licks and Will Pugh can sing.

santi3hg
March 7th 2006



440 Comments


^^
cool that you know them.
good review, but this should be in pop-punk genre per your reviewing stating so. im not a huge fan to say the least. but nicely done review.

masada
April 3rd 2006



2733 Comments


this is good stuff.

not great, but it serves it's purpose.

DepthsOfDreams555
April 10th 2006



55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I LOVE this album it is incredible. I listen to it constantly. But Kif you got it wrong. "A" is the last song on the CD. It is the mixture of all of the songs together. Overall great review.

Riley12988
April 13th 2006



109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like this album simply because you can smell a hint of musicianship under all the pop appeal. These guys blow any of the other big pop-punk bands of the past 5 years or so.

masada
April 29th 2006



2733 Comments


"A" would be good if it were about 5 minutes shorter.

DepthsOfDreams555
May 1st 2006



55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No I love it's length, I would still like it if it were shorter, but I love how long it is.

thewalkingfan
May 12th 2006



12 Comments


i dont know just kinda seems cheezy


masada
May 20th 2006



2733 Comments


Yeah, it is kind of cheesy. But it's solid power-pop stuff.

Society Sellout
June 1st 2006



292 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is pretty average. There are a few good tracks on here but it suffers from lack of versitility especially in his vocal melodies.

rozyelf
June 5th 2006



2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i agree with depths, i like how A "drags" on, and how it features lyrics from past songs on the album

mx
Moderator
June 8th 2006



733 Comments


I like 'Honestly', but that's all I've heard

(>dragon~guitarist<)
July 5th 2006



243 Comments


I liked the song honestly very catchy guitar rhythms and chorus there.

Altmer
August 23rd 2006



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

at least these guys have some talent in comparison to a lot of other bands in their genre

Jessi22
October 18th 2006



1 Comments


I just saw these guys live and they rocked it. They are on tour with New Found Glory right now and I reccomend checking it out! It's hard to tell who the crowd came for - Cartel had a huge following at the show! There were more people wearing Cartel shirts than New Found Glory shirts...

Ire
April 24th 2007



41749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

WTF!?!This was 4.1 three months ago.

FightOffYourDemons
October 26th 2007



19 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

When in a pop punk mood you just can't deny this album

mygirlsexboyfriend
February 6th 2008



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Its awesome to know that they are good live. They are coming to Australia in a few months and im really excited to see them.
Nice review, loved that you mentioned 'the minstrels prayer' - the drums give me chills every time i hear it! The album is a great mix of all the elements of pop punk combined.This Message Edited On 02.06.08

Golgoroth
May 8th 2008



1084 Comments


I have "Honestly" and "Matter of Time", and if the rest of this CD is as good as these songs, I definitely want to get this. Bad.

NewYorkZoo
November 29th 2008



95 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

one of the best punk pop albums out there. too bad their follow-up just blew chunks.



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