With the weather (hopefully) getting warmer, everyone normally starts to resort to their favorite summer throwback songs. But what may be overlooked is the fact some of these artists may have new material out that can compete with the old – Cartel, best known for their hit “Honestly,” is back with a new album that may perk the ears of fans.
“Collider” starts off with a track called “Second Chances,” offering listeners a catchy pop anthem driven by scores of enthusiasm and energy. However, it's difficult to shake the feeling that you've heard it before. “Take Me with You” impresses with high-quality production that is consistent throughout and is a nice surprise, given that the album is self-released. Nevertheless, the song lets us down, as it lacks the vigor apparent in “Second Chances.”
“First Thing's First” arrives at just the right time, picking up the album with a dash of diversity that possesses a more distinctive pop punk sound to it, proving that Cartel definitely has the potential to push its sound further and rid of the boy band clichés that cling to most of their songs. Indeed, with “Best Intentions,” the album seems to be turning around with bouncy guitar riffs and energetic percussion that provides the band with an endearing relatability. However, the unremarkable tune “Thin Air” that suggests Cartel are resting on their laurels and failing to maintain that sincere pop punk amiability that shone through in earlier tracks.
Relying primarily on hooks, “Sympathy” and “Mosaic” echo bands like There For Tomorrow and Every Avenue that are entirely enjoyable to listen to, provided you're OK with the feeling of gluttony that results. However, Collider's last offering finishes the album on a note that is refreshingly different to songs heard before and reminds the listener vaguely of old 30 Seconds to Mars. Cartel have clearly found their niche; it's just a shame that it took until the end of the album to do so. It's nothing spectacular, but for fans of more pop than punk, it will do the trick just fine.
Caretl 'Collider' Rating: W W W V