7 Oct 2014

The Cartels / Nevermore/It Can Wait (single review)

Nevermore / It Can Wait cover art

After a successful self-titled EP came out this January, Portsmouth-based band The Cartels' have played a number of acclaimed and energetic live shows in and around the South Coast. Their mid-length sets have almost become synonymous with a visceral youthful energy, not unlike The Libertines or Drowners. Their second offering comes out this month - a double A-Side single with the name Nevermore/It Can Wait - and like much of The Cartels EP it's an exciting example of energetic indie-rock that wouldn't be out of place as a bonus track to I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose.

Nevermore is the first track of the two on the single; it has a jumpy lead guitar part, that fuses with a bit of (unexpected) brass to create a faultless indie-disco atmosphere. Combined with the frontman's Jack Bevan-like voice, Nevermore marries the better bits and bobs from the 2010's finest indie tracks to make something just as exciting as anything that Wall Of Arms-era Maccabees mustered.

It's also reminiscent of songs like The Libertines' Good Old Days or Pixies' Debaser - brittler, quieter verses that build up to loud climaxing choruses are what makes this song brilliant. The vibrant melodies and the well written, catchy lyrics make it one of the better feel-good tracks to arise from the bleak weather this Autumn.

Track number 2; I Can Wait might be even better; fiddly math-rock-like guitar lines, and the lead singer's change of vocal tone to a more Harrison Koisser-style howl mean that it may even top Nevermore in terms of real feel-good-ness. Clocking in under-three minutes, it's quick and fun, yet polished and memorable. And despite the fact that the lyrical matter is kind of impatient, or negative, it's still upbeat and pretty summary.

Cries of "Oh I can't wait/or I can't wait" make the chorus catchy, and probably possible for the band's fans to sing it back loudly at gigs in the future. After just one listen it sound like a crowd pleaser.

Although their early self-titled EP was pretty great, Nevermore/I Can Wait is a huge step up; the band are much tighter, and the songs are condensed. Where the tracks on The Cartels were all about 4 minutes long, but no slower, and with not much more to offer, these two songs are both indie pop explosions of sound that really can't be improved on. It's an exciting first proper single from a band who should get much bigger in the near future.


Released: September 19th
Produced: Kevin Smith and Thomas Bielby
For fans of: Bombay Bicycle Club, The Libertines, The La's, early Two Door Cinema Club

(written by calum cashin)