Cartel - Cycles

Album cover
Pop Rock
Wind-up Records
Cartel
Cycles
Cartel - Cycles Review rating:
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Nope, this album was not made in a bubble; thank God.

The tension from Cartel’s self-titled fiasco two years back has ended, and the band seems perfectly content now, as all of the rifts from previous disputes have seemingly cleared. It seems that the band now has a clean slate in which to work with. Digging back to their high-energy power-pop roots, they return with their third full-length release Cycles. Older fans of the Chroma days were left wanting after their self-titled effort, not fully satisfied with their new, less power, more pop sound. Maybe recording a record, while stuck with four other dudes in an enclosed space for 20 days may have not been the best method. Putting this into account, Cartel comes back with a fairly solid effort this time around.

The firm guitars and bass-heavy rhythms put the “power” back into their sound that was definitely vacant. It’s surely felt during the first track “Let’s Go”, a perfect opener for the album. Will Pugh’s vocals hit hard during the grandiose chorus. He certainly showcases his talents here, and one of the band’s best qualities, and their main selling point in his exhaustingly large voice.

Unfortunately, the album lacks any serious lyrical diversity. Pugh pretty much sticks with what he knows will entice his listeners, and not make them ponder too much of the meaning of a song. As dreadfully obvious as the comprehension is, they’re not bad. What’s disappointing is that he displayed that he can be catchy and elaborate at the same time on past albums Chroma and particularly the Ransom EP, but the last two albums he’s sacrificed substance for style. However, vocally, not many can match his highs. They’re powerful yet approachable. Just listen to the chorus in “Deep South”, and you’ll discover why.

Essentially, this is a pretty solid album, but lacks originality. All of the hype surrounding the album, stating that “Cartel’s back to their roots” will only be partially satisfied. The hooks are there, but they lack some punch. The rhythm is swift, but moves in predictable motions. Many new fans of Cartel will overlook this due to its extreme accessibility, but those who’ve been there and back with the band will ultimately be looking for just a little bit more.

1. Let’s Go 8.9 10. 11.
2. The Perfect Mistake
3. Faster Ride
4. Deep South
5. Only You
6. It Still Remains
7. 27 Steps
8. See Me Now
9. Typical
10. Conventional Friend
11. Retrograde

Cartel is the name of at least six different groups:
1. An American pop rock band
2. A German-Turkish hip hop group
3. A British band
4. A collaboration between DJs John Askew and John O'Callaghan
5. An American hip hop producer
6. An Australian rock group

1. Cartel is an American pop rock band which formed in Conyers, Georgia in 2003. The band consists of Will Pugh (vocals, guitar), Joseph Pepper (guitar), Nic Hudson (guitar), Jeff Lett (bass) and Kevin Sanders (drums). The band is best known for their 2006 single "Honestly".

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