Cartel - Chroma (Cover Artwork)


Cartel: ChromaChroma (2005)
Militia Group

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: barryscattonBarry Scatton
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Normally before hearing an album like this, I am automatically predisposed to the assumption that it will be another generic rock record. Not that most melodic rock is supposed to challenge the mind and body with its intelligent lyrics, and groundbreaking music, but there has to be something about i.
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Normally before hearing an album like this, I am automatically predisposed to the assumption that it will be another generic rock record. Not that most melodic rock is supposed to challenge the mind and body with its intelligent lyrics, and groundbreaking music, but there has to be something about it that sticks out a little bit. Cartel find themselves trying to break into an extremely overcrowded genre of music. I don't blame them honestly; their brand of sentimental, polished rock is what seems to suit everybody's fancy at the moment. As most of you know, The Militia Group have been making a name for themselves over the years signing extremely sappy pop acts, that definitely appeal to a younger generation of music listeners. While I find myself hard pressed to be able to relate to any of the lyrical content on Cartel's new disc Chroma, The Militia Group have finally released an album that has the musical competence to make up for its lyrical shortcomings.

Chroma is nothing but a straight up/no frills pop disc. There is something about the overall vibe this record gives off, that I am really into. If you read this band's bio on The Militia Group webpage, they don't use any goofy hyperbole, and there are no lines written about the band "taking over the world." Cartel miraculously have no shtick either, which I find to be quite refreshing. They appear to be five guys who have decided to let their music do the talking, and I can get behind that. Chroma maintains a pretty jovial vibe for its entirety, but the most interesting part about this record involves the song arrangements. Most of the songs, instead of ending abruptly, have little interludes that offer seamless leads into the next song. Each song seems to be connected to the next in some way shape or form, which makes Chroma flow from start to finish very smoothly.

The combination of vocalist Will Pugh's voice and plenty of infectious guitar licks are the primary reason this disc is so damn catchy. Will probably has one of the smoothest voices I have heard on a pop-punk record in a long time, but the band doesn't rely on his vocal harmonies to carry the entire record. The guitar harmonies are offered up in equal servings, which make the disc seem balanced in all the right places. Cartel even throws in a few heaping servings of Southern rock and soft piano at times too, which help keep it distinguished from the rest of the pack. The whole disc seems to build up to the last two songs on the album, simply entitled "Q" and "A," respectively. Those two songs make up about 12 minutes of the disc, and quite frankly they are two of the most beautifully crafted rock songs I have heard in a long time. They are very reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World's penchant for ending on a very epic and downright somber note.

Chroma is a rock album that make its presence felt, without being overzealous. I hate using this term, but this is simply a great feel good album. You can't possibly feel bad about anything while this disc is playing, and that is a hard goal to accomplish. The Militia Group and Cartel should be pretty proud of Chroma because I do feel it maintains a strong amount of credibility. If you are a pop fan, do give this record a shot, you will not be disappointed.

[originally written for Punkrocks.net]


People who liked this also liked:
At The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandTaking Back Sunday - Louder NowMy Chemical Romance - Three Cheers For Sweet RevengeConverge - No HeroesFall Out Boy - Take This to Your GravePanic at the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat OutFall Out Boy - From Under The Cork TreeThe Classic Crime - AlbatrossThe Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Don't You Fake ItAlkaline Trio - Remains [CD/DVD]

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ThaMainMai (May 21, 2007)

I saw Cartel live and they did a great job. The lead singer's got some good pipes, even when he's sick.

jy (February 14, 2007)

Cartel are awesome. The lead singer is hot and his vocals are even hotter.

Djessluvspunk (December 6, 2006)

Cartel is da best band evaaaa! some1 wud like 2 say sumfin against that?? !!

Anonymous (January 10, 2006)

i really like them, i like their sound and i like the vocals, does that make me an idiot because i like them where a bunch of the rest of you dont like them? i dont think so, its just different musical tastes, if you like listen to it, if not, leave it alone. and stop labeling everybody as cool or not cool or stupid just because they like something different than you its fucking pointless to do that due to someones OPINION.

Anonymous (December 29, 2005)

Cartel is really one of the best bands I've ever heard. Their not just another lame rock band. Their more or less just another great band that makes you go nuts when your not listening to them. I bought the album after just one song ((Runaway)). They really are addicteve.

Thank You,


Anonymous (November 15, 2005)

If you little boys have any clue what good music contains, then you would refrain from issueing any positive statements about Cartel. They fucking suck you idiots. I know the members. Ive heard the songs. Ive seen them live. Goddamn they are pathetic. They still write music like theyre in highschool, and they lack any birthgiven talent. Im only telling you this out of hatred. At leaste its nice to realize that it takes talentless idiots to listen to talentless music.

Anonymous (October 22, 2005)

This is amazing, I heard Cartel was writting this shit way before fall out boy shit all over teh music industry. This record fucking rules hands down.

Anonymous (October 18, 2005)

im so bored with this record

SilentStorms (October 17, 2005)

Fall Out Boy, fuck ... I'd rather you shit in my ear. Seriously.

SilentStorms (October 17, 2005)

Fall Out Boy < nothing ... muhahaha.

Yo and don't disrespect punkrocks.net biatch - they're better than you ... and you know it!!!

Icapped2pac (October 16, 2005)

Guilty pleasure, solid album. I hate the fucking Cher-like vocal effects on the last track though. I hate when bands use that shit, it's so god damn cheesy.

GreenVandal (October 16, 2005)

I hope no one took me seriously...

tylerdurden8136 (October 15, 2005)

Panic at the disco = way overrated

i know! i honestly don't understand the hype surrounding this second-rate falloutboy ripoff.

and they really do sound like falloutboy. don't deny it.

Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

Panic at the disco = way overrated

Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

Superdude > Life

GreenVandal (October 15, 2005)

Panic! At the Disco > Everything else

Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

fall out boy > cartel

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Rraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh i'm a tiger!!!! i wanna eat ya!!!!! yum!!!!

poopypants (October 14, 2005)

its very poppy but the lyrics are pretty decent and the singer has an AMAZING voice. awesome projection. 'say anything else' 'honestly' and 'burn this city' are so good.

and the redone verison of 'luckie st.' i actually think is better. they sped it up a little bit and added a nice harmony on 'alchohol and nicotine' that wasnt there before.

'minstrels prayer' left me scratching my head. its pretty gay.

overall its damn good. not as great as absolutepunk will lead you to believe but its still a very solid pop rock record w/ some pop punk leanings.


stevejonestherealbones (October 14, 2005)

wait? this is the guy that did the review with the hulk?

that was a good review

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

I like this band well enough but this album really only deserves a 5 or 6 at the very most. The EP was miles above this.

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

i listened to this whole thing on absolutepunk and it was totally uninteresting. mediocre energy, overproduced, and predictable. it really doesn't deserve four stars.

OverDefined (October 14, 2005)

...because they never update and just about only talk shit

OverDefined (October 14, 2005)

punkrocks.net sucks

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Its just really catchy. Nothing new at all. I like the Demos better, more conviction in his singing.

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

You decribe them as rock, then pop, and then pop-punk.. Make up your your damn mind will you!!

benz (October 14, 2005)

I don't see the appeal.


Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

...from all the barry scatton reviews, you had to choose this one?! Barry, i'm not sure if you wrote it, but the spill canvas review with the grass growing pictures, WHAT THE HELL is the hulk doing on picture 3 (or maybe 4)? He just randomly happened to walk by? Shit's been bugging me.

AlmostPunkEnough (October 14, 2005)

very hit or miss, but the good stuff is really good.

barryscatton (October 14, 2005)

I think it is decent for what it is. Its nowhere close to making my top 20, but I think compared to a lot of bands playing this ultra cheesy style of rock, they arent that bad at it. It is definitely the best thing The Militia Group has put out.

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

The ep was just plain awesome. I listened to a few of these songs and I thought "what in the balls happened?" Also, the redone version of Luckie St. just doesn't sound "right".

Anchors (October 14, 2005)

Hahaha Jones I read that, and just thought;

"You're breakin' my balls mam, you're breakin' my balls."

theundergroundscene (October 14, 2005)

their singer has a good voice and their music isn't that bad

but i'll be fucking damned if i'm going to sit through 50 minutes of it

stevejonestherealbones (October 14, 2005)

youre killin me here barry.

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

inagreendase (October 14, 2005)

This has a few catchy songs, but the EP was better and more promising. It seems like they're really holding back energetically.

etwiels88 (October 14, 2005)

Is this shit really that good? The lead singer looks like a fucking Backstreet Boy...

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