Sound — 9
This is the first full length album Atlanta 5-piece Cartel have released. "The Ransom EP" was released in 2004 and gave us a glimpse of how great this band could be. Chroma, their sophomore effort was my favourite CD of 2005, for so many reasons. This CD contains mature lyrics and a very diverse sound, the difference between tracks is phenominal. "The Minstrel's Prayer" is a truly original beautiful ballad, but then you also have the more generic pop-punk songs such as "Honestly." The overal sound of this album is one of the best I've heard since Fall Out Boy's "Take This To Your Grave" and is truly a credit to the genre called "pop-punk."
Lyrics — 9
Will's singing on this record stays true to their first EP, he is great singer compared to many other pop-punk bands and stands out in a world of generic sounding vocalists. The lyrics on this album are amazing, with the best track being "The Minstrel's Prayer" lyrics-wise, I've never heard lyrics like that used in a song, which makes for an original listen. The songs are full of hooks and Will's voice just makes you want to sing along with them. For a band thats only released an EP before their first LP, the maturity and hooks contained in the lyrics of this album are amazing.
Overall Impression — 10
As I said in the first section, I think this was my favourite CD of 2005, because it stands out. The best songs on this album are "The Minstrel's Prayer", "Settle Down" and "Lucky St." I love everything about this album, the production is fantastic and the writing is top-notch. There is no fantastic solos or complicated riffs but pure great songwriting, which personally I enjoy more. If this album was ever lost I'd buy it straight away again, even though it'd be on my CD, its a CD I want to own, and I think every punk-pop/alternative music fan should too.