Wednesday, June 16, 2010

LEO review: KaiserCartel

Last week, KaiserCartel released their completely fan-funded follow-up to March Forth. If you pick up LEO this week and flip to page 40, you'll find my review. You can also check it out on their website, or read it here.

Secret Transit
(Daniel Records)
{ super sequel }

Crafting a sophomore full-length, from genesis to final note, is a dicey proposition. Stick with what works but avoid stagnation, cover new ground while maintaining identity – not an easy balancing process. Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel have evidently achieved this equilibrium, and the result is Secret Transit.

The alterna-folk acoustic warmth and bouncy playfulness of their debut is here in full supply, as are sundry percussive elements (ranging from hand-claps to alarm clock bells). Further, the record shines bright with expanded horizons: the first and last tracks are perfectly spooky, and a few pick-it-up tunes add a just-right pinch of needed electricity. A great example comes in a cover of "Worn Out Nervous Condition," repurposed as a delightfully addicting folk-pop meditation on love in limbo. This is a band known for diverse instrumentation and textured, intimate live performances, all of which is expertly captured here. To listen to this fan-funded project is to be unable to keep it a secret.

You can listen to the entire album on their website, and they also have a Myspace.

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