Chroma (album)

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Chroma
CartelChroma.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 20, 2005
RecordedMay–June 2005
StudioTreesound Studios,
Atlanta, Georgia
GenrePop,[1][2] pop punk,[1][2] rock[2]
Length49:50
LabelThe Militia Group
ProducerZack Odom, Kenneth Mount, Cartel
Cartel chronology
The Ransom EP
(2004)
Chroma
(2005)
Live Dudes
(2006)
Singles from Chroma
  1. "Honestly"
    Released: April 1, 2006

Chroma is the debut studio album by the American rock band Cartel. Formed in mid-2003, they self-released an EP the following year. Shortly afterwards founding guitarist Andy Lee left the band and was replaced by Nic Hudson. Following a performance at a music conference in Atlanta, the band signed to The Militia Group. With songs planned out, the band went to record with producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount. Recording took place at Treesound Studios in Atlanta in May and June 2005. Chroma released through The Militia Group in September 2005. The album sold 3,000 copies in its first week and charted at number 140 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Background[edit]

Cartel formed in August 2003[3] in Atlanta.[4] The band consisted of vocalist Will Pugh, bassist Ryan Roberts, drummer Kevin Sanders, and guitarists Joseph Pepper[4] and Andy Lee.[3] The members had known each other since high school and had played in various bands before Cartel.[3] Cartel self-released The Ransom EP[4] in March 2004.[5] Lee wrote half the songs on the EP. [6] Pugh, Roberts, Sanders and Pepper considered themselves a "tight-knit group".[3] The band thought Lee, who had joined later, did not fit in with the rest of them.[3] Pugh explained that "With someone like Andy, [...] it's gonna lead to peoples' feelings getting hurt."[3] Nic Hudson, who had nearly joined the army before the band asked him to join, replaced Lee.[3]

In July 2004[5] Cartel played at the Atlantis Music Conference in Atlanta.[6] Rory Felton from The Militia Group saw their performance.[6] The band signed to The Militia Group, who re-released their EP.[4] A month after signing, the band recorded a demo of "Honestly" as a "kind of trial thing" with Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount as the band were looking for producers.[6] In September, the band toured with My American Heart, A Second Chance and All Rights Reserved.[7] In January and February 2005 the band supported As Tall as Lions and The Receiving End of Sirens on their U.S. tour.[8] The band posted the "Honestly" demo on their PureVolume account in March.[9] In April, Cartel went on the Family Affair tour with label mates Brandtson, The Rocket Summer, and Umbrellas.[9]

Composition and recording[edit]

"Say Anything (Else)", "Honestly" and "Settle Down" were written in summer 2004.[6] They featured new riffs not on their earlier versions.[6] Cartel had planned out all the songs before they went into the studio to record.[6] Pugh mentioned there was "pressure" because Lee was no longer a member of the band. Despite him being "just one small part" of the band, "he definitely brought riffs".[6] For a majority of the songs, Pugh came up with the basic form, "a verse, chord progression, chorus, melody, things like that".[6] He is credited with writing all the lyrics, while the songs are credited to the band.[10] Demos were recorded in five hours.[6]

The album was recorded at Treesound Studios, in Atlanta, Georgia,[10] over the course of eight days[6] between May 18 and June 21, 2005.[10] The band co-produced the album with producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount.[10][nb 1] The pair also engineered and mixed the album.[10] The drums were recorded in a room called The Cave.[13] Gavin Lurssen mastered the album at The Mastering Lab in Hollywood, California.[10] Pugh later thought the band "didn't really have a lot of time" to record the album.[6] He called the recording process "really strained" and filled with "a lot of stress".[6] Pugh considered the album "a big step up" from the band's EP.[6]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Pugh was dating a girl while they were in college and shortly afterwards went on tour.[14] The pair broke up because Pugh did not knowing how long he would be on tour.[14] A year after they broke up, the girl began dating another guy, much to Pugh's annoyance.[14] It "just ate at me so hard" and as a result Pugh wrote "Honestly".[14] While the band were working on "Honestly" Pugh thought "it just wasn't quite sounding right". Instead he used the vocal track from the demo on the album version.[13] He felt "It matched up perfectly, which was sweet!" [13] "Burn This City" is about the band getting out of town and having other people tell them they could not.[6] "Save Us" was the first piano song Pugh wrote.[6] The melody for the song came while Pugh was messing around with a piano at Pepper's house.[6] The song was originally in the key of C, but the band changed it to G "in order to keep as little black keys out of it as possible".[6] Odom plays the strings on the song and also "The Minstrel's Prayer".[10]

"Luckie. St" was originally recorded for the band's EP, but was re-recorded for Chroma.[15] "If I Fail", according to Pugh, "was kind of the same thing" as "Honestly".[14] For "The Minstrel's Prayer", Pugh played all the acoustic guitars.[6] With "A" the band knew what they wanted to do with the track.[6] It features choruses of other songs on the album.[6] They wanted the album to end "with an ellipsis, where you can be expecting other things and not just really closing it off".[6] The inspiration for this was Jimmy Eat World's "Goodbye Sky Harbor".[6] "A" features programmed drums taken from André 3000's MP3 player, which he left at the studio.[13] All of the programming was done by Pugh.[6] According to him, the band were "messing around" with the MP3 player and the programmed drums they found on it were "good so we were like, 'Cool, let's just use this!'"[13] Mount provided additional programming on "Q" and "A", while Julia Kugel recorded additional vocals for the two songs.[10] David Webers plays trumpets on "A".[10]

Artwork and packaging[edit]

Randall Jenkins[10] from The Militia Group[6] and Cartel handled the art direction.[10] Jenkins created the artwork for the album.[6] It was initially going to be printed on vellum, similar to what Copeland had used for their Beneath Medicine Tree (2003) album.[6] Due to the cost this was not done.[6] Pugh said that "it really didn't reflect the overall idea of the artwork we had in the long run".[6] The band scrapped this and went for "hi-res photos and things like that",[6] a concept which came from Chris Donahue, Pugh and Jenkins.[6] Jenkins produced all the photographs and compiled them.[6] Jenkins also did the design and layout.[10] Zack Arias of Usedfilm took the band photograph.[10] The Militia Group edition of the album is in a jewel case with a slipcase, while the Epic edition is only in a jewel case. The vinyl edition is in a gatefold sleeve in a die-cut slipcover.[16]

Release[edit]

Cartel had attracted major label attention before the album was released.[6] On September 6, 2005, the album was made available for streaming.[17] The Militia Group released Chroma on September 20.[18] In December,[19] the band toured with The Working Title, Terminal and New Atlantic.[20] The band went the Screaming Is for Babies Tour[21]co-headlining with Copeland with support from The Starting Line and Gatsbys American Dream[22] in February, March[23] and April 2006.[22] On February 2, 2006, Cartel released a video for "Honestly".[21] The idea for the video came from some of the band's old high school friends.[14] The band were featured playing live for part of the video.[14] On March 6, 2006, it was announced the band had signed to Epic.[24] Epic wanted the band to re-shoot their live performance for the "Honestly" video.[14] This ended up costing $20,000.[14]

On June 8, 2006, it was announced that Roberts had left the band.[25] Jeff Lett filled in his position.[25] On June 6, Chroma was re-released through Epic.[26] The re-release included slightly altered artwork,[26] access to their online fan club,[27] and a three-song live EP entitled Live Dudes.[28] The band played on the 2006 edition of Warped Tour.[4] On August 8, "Honestly" was released as a single.[29] In September, Cartel headlined several shows, before supporting New Found Glory in October and November.[30] The band went on a headlining tour in February and March 2007 with support from Boys Like Girls, Cobra Starship, Quietdrive,[31] Permanent Me and New Atlantic.[32] On March 3, the band released a music video for "Say Anything (Else)".[33]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AbsolutePunk(86%)[18]
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
LAS Magazine5/10 [34]
Melodic3.5/5 stars [35]
Punknews.org4/5 stars[2]
SpinFavorable[36]

Chroma sold over 3,000 copies in its first week, becoming The Militia Group's most successful artist release.[22] By August 2006, the album had sold over 100,000 copies.[37] Its success was due to the band's online fan base and their use of Myspace, according to the vice president of marketing at Epic.[38] By February 2007 the album had sold 183,000 copies,[38] By and by October 2009 over 250,000 copies.[39] In an interview with Alternative Press in May 2015 Pugh reckoned that album sales stood around "280, 290 thousand copies [sold]".[14] The album charted in the U.S. at number 140 on the Billboard 200,[40] number two on the Heatseekers Albums chart[41] and number 38 on the Independent Albums chart.[42] "Honestly" charted at number 31 on the Pop Songs chart,[43] number 65 on the Digital Songs chart[44] and number 89 on the Hot 100.[45] Alternative Press included "Luckie. St" on its Windows Down - 11 Summer Driving Songs list.[15]

On February 2, 2015, Cartel announced a headlining anniversary tour was to take place between April and May in the U.S.[46] It was the band's first headlining tour in four years.[14] Hit the Lights, TEAM* and Driver Friendly supported the band.[46] They played one London date in May as part of the tour.[47] Cartel also announced an anniversary vinyl of Chroma would be available for pre-sale.[48] Field Day released a limited edition of 1,000 copies of the vinyl.[16] On April 16 "Honestly" was certified gold for selling 500,000 copies.[49] To celebrate this, the band released a 7" vinyl with an acoustic version of the song as a B-side.[49]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics by Will Pugh. All songs by Cartel.[10]

  1. "Say Anything (Else)" – 3:51
  2. "Honestly" – 3:30
  3. "Runaway" – 2:53
  4. "Matter of Time" – 3:22
  5. "Burn This City" – 4:22
  6. "Save Us" – 4:39
  7. "Luckie St." – 3:45
  8. "Settle Down" – 3:05
  9. "If I Fail" – 3:42
  10. "The Minstrel's Prayer" – 4:41
  11. "Q" – 2:37
  12. "A" – 9:45

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per booklet.[10]

Chart positions[edit]

Charts (2005–6) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200[40] 140
U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Albums[41] 2
U.S. Billboard Independent Albums[42] 38

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ The band would later play with Mount and Odom on Cartel (2007)[11] and Collider (2013).[12]
Citations
  1. ^ a b c Anderson, Rick. "Chroma - Cartel - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Scatton, Barry (October 14, 2005). "Cartel - Chroma". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ortenzi, Rob (September 8, 2006). "Cartel: Unstuck From A Moment You Can't Get Out Of". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on October 20, 2006. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Loftus, Johnny. "Cartel - Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Old News". merchhead.com. Archived from the original on August 27, 2004. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Kohli, Rohan (August 25, 2005). "Cartel Interview - 8.25.2005 - Interview". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  7. ^ "BreakingCustom v1.0". breakingcustom.com. Archived from the original on August 15, 2004. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  8. ^ brian (January 13, 2005). "Tours: As Tall As Lions on tour with The Receiving End Of Sirens; Cartel on most dates". punknews.org. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  9. ^ a b brian (March 18, 2005). "Cartel posts new demo, going into studio in May". punknews.org. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Chroma (Booklet). Cartel. The Militia Group. 2005. TMG033.
  11. ^ Cartel (Booklet). Cartel. Epic/The Militia Group. 2007. 88697098352.
  12. ^ Collider (Sleeve). Cartel. Cartel Music. 2013. 01.
  13. ^ a b c d e Slessor 2015, p. 56
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McGuire, Colin (May 25, 2015). "Will Pugh of Cartel looks back on 10 years of 'Chroma,' "Honestly" going Gold". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Heisel, Scott (May 15, 2013). "Weekly Playlist #25: Windows Down - 11 summer driving songs". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Field Day Records — Cartel | Chroma | 10 Year Anniversary". Field Day Records. Archived from the original on August 11, 2015. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  17. ^ brian (September 6, 2005). "Media: Full stream of Cartel's 'Chroma' online". punknews.org. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Tate, Jason (November 20, 2005). "Cartel - Chroma". absolutepunk.net. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  19. ^ "Cartel post Christmas song, live footage; on tour right now". Alternative Press. December 7, 2005. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  20. ^ Kohli, Rohan (November 12, 2005). "Cartel / TWT / Terminal / New Atlantic Tour Dates". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  21. ^ a b "New videos from Cartel, the Rocket Summer posted". Alternative Press. February 2, 2006. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  22. ^ a b c "Official Cartel Press Release". absolutepunk.net. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  23. ^ aubin (December 9, 2005). "Tours: The Starting Line / Copeland / Gatsbys American Dream / Cartel". punknews.org. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  24. ^ Kohli, Rohan (March 6, 2006). "Cartel Signs To Epic". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  25. ^ a b Kohli, Rohan (June 8, 2006). "Ryan Roberts Leaves Cartel". AbsolutePunk.net. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  26. ^ a b Kohli, Rohan (April 13, 2006). "Cartel Re-Release Date". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  27. ^ Giaramita, Frank (June 2, 2006). "Cartel To Launch Fanclub, "Luckie St.", On June 13th". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  28. ^ Kohli, Rohan (May 24, 2006). "Cartel Live EP Track Listing". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  29. ^ "Honestly [Clean]: Cartel: MP3 Downloads". Amazon. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  30. ^ Kohli, Rohan (July 28, 2006). "Cartel September Tour Dates". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  31. ^ Kohli, Rohan (November 22, 2006). "Fear Not, More Cartel Headlining Dates Will Be Announced". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  32. ^ "Cartel announce tour with Cobra Starship, Boys Like Girls". Alternative Press. December 13, 2006. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  33. ^ Kohli, Rohan (March 3, 2007). "Cartel Music Video For "Say Anything (Else)"". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved July 26, 2015.[dead link]
  34. ^ LAS Magazine review Archived 2017-02-13 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Roth, Kaj (September 16, 2005). "Cartel - Chroma". Melodic. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  36. ^ Futterman, Erica (September 28, 2005). "Cartel, 'Chroma' (The Militia Group)". Spin. Archived from the original on February 4, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  37. ^ Kohli, Rohan (August 30, 2006). "Soundscan Results: Week Ending August 27th, 2006". absolutepunk.net. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  38. ^ a b Walsh 2007, p. 60
  39. ^ Jones, Evan C. (October 5, 2009). "Cartel Mounts Comeback After 'Bubble' Bust". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  40. ^ a b "Cartel - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  41. ^ a b "Cartel - Chart history (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  42. ^ a b "Cartel - Chart history (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  43. ^ "Cartel - Chart history (Pop Songs)". billboard.com. Archived from the original on March 28, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  44. ^ "Cartel - Chart history (Digital Songs)". billboard.com. Archived from the original on March 28, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  45. ^ "Cartel - Chart history (Hot 100)". billboard.com. Archived from the original on March 28, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  46. ^ a b Sharp, Tyler (February 2, 2015). "Cartel announce 'Chroma' 10-year anniversary tour". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  47. ^ Biddulph, Andy (February 3, 2015). "Cartel Are Going To Play Classic Album 'Chroma' In Full On Tour This Spring". Rock Sound Magazine. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  48. ^ Pierangelo, Hannah (February 3, 2015). "Cartel announce 'Chroma' 10 year anniversary tour". idobi.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  49. ^ a b Sharp, Tyler (April 16, 2015). "Cartel's "Honestly" certified Gold". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
Sources
  • Slessor, Dan (May 23, 2015). McMahon, James, ed. "Gigs". Kerrang!. London: Bauer Media Group (1569). ISSN 0262-6624.
  • Walsh, Chris M. (February 24, 2007). "Breaking the Bands: Who's Next?". Billboard. London: Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 119 (8). ISSN 0006-2510.

External links[edit]