Album Review: Cartel, ‘Collider’

nicole calascibetta collides…

Cartel-Collider-Leak

Cartel’s new album Collider is a bright, energetic record that enforces the pop-punk mantra of keeping a PMA (positive mental attitude) and has squeaky clean production value that highlights the quick-tempo instrumentals. While the colorful tones on Collider are likely to categorize it as a summer soundtrack for Pop-Punk lovers, I’m still wary if it will provide any summer hits.

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The track that stood out the most was “Disconnect” — because it delivers the most oomph, both lyrically and instrumentally: “We won’t give up/ we won’t give in/ we won’t give anything again/ we’re on our own, got to finish it, we can’t let anything resist/ we never wanted it to be like this/ just keep pushing till the pieces fit/ can we disconnect.” It was certainly the strongest track and I only wish the entirety of Collider could pack this much of a punch.

“Uninspired” is the first single released off of Collider for free online streaming and it actually happened to be my least favorite track off of the album. Pop-punk music thrives off of catchy hooks, and “Uninspired” just drags. I was happy to find the rest of the record surpassed the single and in its entirety, Collider is fun, lively and has some depth.

Throughout Collider, the instrumentals are tight-knit and the singing has ample time to breathe in-between verses rather than rushing through them. A perfect example of this can be heard on the third track, “First Things First.” The drums stand out by setting the tone and really brighten up this record.

With a similar sound to Yellowcard and The Starting Line, Cartel’s Collider is an aggressive attempt to break the mold. It’s obvious in the opening track, “Second Chances:” “I’ve been waiting for answers/ I’ve been looking for a reason/ So I could start all over again/ Erase and rewind back from the end/ All I ever wanted to be is/ Something real/ Something important/ But I’m so damn disappointed.”

This album is certainly a step forward for Cartel, but it feels as if they’re trying to find a new direction and Collider is the record in between Chroma (2006) and Cycles (2009) and a more developed sound that’s yet to come. All I can say is that it’s almost there — and while the listeners will be no doubt be satisfied with the end result, I don’t think we’ve yet heard the final product from Cartel.

Cartel will be performing at this year’s Skate and Surf Festival in Freehold, NJ on May 19. Click here for tickets.

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