Cartel Chroma, 2006
Cartel's Chroma is the best pop-punk/power-pop album that I've never heard anyone else mention. I first encountered the band with their video for "Honestly" which is a great song. If that was all I ever heard from them, I'm sure I wouldn't have the pleasure of knowing this album. But then "The Minstrel's Prayer" was put on the Take Action Vol. 5 comp and the combination of the two sealed it for me.
One of the things I like about bands like Pink Floyd and Coheed & Cambria is they will often refer to one or more of their other songs. When this is done within the context of a single album, it gives the album a feeling of inevitability and organization that might not otherwise be evident.
The song "A" is an amazing song (flowing directly out of the song "Q", of course) because it ties at least 4 of the other songs on the album together into this nearly 10 minute opus to close out the album. It's a bold choice. For me, it makes every replay of the album better. Like, instead of hearing separate tracks, we're just hearing parts of a symphony that are tied together in the end. It's powerful stuff and I am simply appalled to feel like the only person who loves this album.
I love this album so much, in fact, that their follow-up was a crushing disappointment to me. And I hate crushing disappointments. But then I just put this one on again and all the pain just drifts away.
It's no surprise to anyone, I'm sure, that I love this album. It's like the band tapped into my brain and figured out all the elements of what I like about their particular brand of music and then crafted the album to suit those preferences.
Cartel - Say Anything (Else)
Cartel - Luckie St.
You can buy Chroma at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes