For Fans Of
If you find yourself constantly looking back at the heyday of pop punk household name, All Time Low with a sense of longing and bitter nostalgia then look for reprieve no further than pop punk boys Cartel and their punchy self release Collider. An album that provides no surprises, but offers an uncanny resemblance to the pop punk bands you listened to when you were fifteen, Collider is for listeners who fancy a return to that boy band pop punk craze visited by everyone at some point, whether they admit it or not.
The first track on Collider, ‘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 have the potential to push their 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, once again letting down Cartel is filler and 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 okay 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, but its well worth enduring the scores of formulaic pop punk tunes just to hear it.
Collider stands up because of its boy band likability and easily accessible chorus driven song writing, but other than that there aren’t many redeeming qualities to speak of. Writing an album is a difficult feat to get right, and Collider makes the entire process feel slightly exhausting. Remaining dissapointingly repetitiive throughout, listeners are better off skipping straight to the last song to get the most out of this album.
1. Second Chances
2. Take Me With You
3. First Thing’s First
4. Best Intentions
5. Thin Air
11. A Thousand Suns