Cartel - The Ransom [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Ransom [reissue] (2004)

Militia Group

Cartel play the "undeniably catchy" emotional punk-pop card, as most of you should already know due to the review of the original release of their Ransom EP, self-released several months prior to this, The Militia Group's re-releasing of the album.

The Ransom contains some stellar re-mixing on what was apparently an already well-produced CD as well as two bonus tracks, "The City Never Sleeps" and "Fiend (Alternate Version)." The former is the newest example of their Lobster Records style, with the clean, soaring vocals of singer Will Pugh and jumpy, sound-filling guitar riffs that actually sound like they're putting effort in such, and the latter a sit-down, acoustic number with loudly strummed chords that again showcase the uplifting vocals from the frontman.

Seeing as how I've never heard the original, It's hard to say whether or not this is worth the purchase for those who already own the self-released version. The two bonus songs are just as good as any of the other tracks on the EP, but I'm about 75% sure the artwork is the same, which definitely could've used an overhaul - the pale-colored bloodstains reak of cliché and just don't fit the band's sound. Much more could've done with the grunge-looking dealie and title-suggesting theme, but I digress.

Their press release might unabashedly call them "your new favorite guilty pleasure," but Cartel have enough talent and creativity to distance themselves far from the pack of pop-punk that better fit the predicting label and quietly sneak into your listening rotation.