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With Cartel’s last release, the In-Stereo EP, I gave them a hard time because they ended up producing it themselves. The EP didn’t sound as good as Cartel records had in the past. That’s been fixed, and it wasn’t fixed with an outside producer. Cartel frontman Will Pugh picked up the reigns with Cartel’s new album, Collider, and he clearly got better at production.

Collider isn’t just a well produced. It’s over-the-top great and it sounds just as good, maybe even better than the past two Cartel records. Kevin Sanders’ drums pop with perfection, Pugh’s vocals are clean and confident, and best of all- that seemingly trademarked Cartel punch in the guitars is back and better than ever. There isn’t a band that’s been able to reproduce that sound effectively over the years, and it was even a bit challenging with Cartel to do it with In Stereo, but Pugh’s production took that guitar sound to task.

The material on this Cartel album also sets it apart. There are eleven songs on the album, all of them are good, including some key album tracks. Plus, there are at least two classic Cartel songs on this record. “Mosaic” is fantastic, but so is “Keep Your Head Up” and “Uninspired” too. The material here is outstanding.

Cartel’s Collider is a huge step in the right direction for the group. Pugh’s production is spot-on and the songs will surprise you over and over again.


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