Secret Transit, out June 8 via the band’s own Daniel Records
label and funded via fan pledges finds the Brooklyn
guy-gal duo upping the ante with an emphatic pop sound.
By Lee Zimmerman
Kaiser Cartel, an unassuming boy/girl duo
comprised of singer Courtney Kaiser and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Benjamin
Cartel, have managed to settle well below the radar, despite an album and
several EPs that have reflected the twosome’s loftier inclinations. Secret Transit more or less ups the
ante, substituting an emphatic pop sound for the low-key ruminations that
defined their previous attempts. The first half of the record refuses to
falter, propelled by a decidedly insistent sound, manifest in the raging pulse
of “Falling,” the harmonies and handclaps of “Around You” and the kinetic
frenzy found in the aptly titled “Ready to Go.” Courtney Kaiser’s chirpy vocals
give the album a girl group persona, especially on songs like “Carroll Street” and
“Worn Out Nervous Condition,” where a giddy unabashed exuberance all but
dominates the proceedings.
That said, the back portion of the album
offers moments of repose, from the eerie, ethereal spin of “Minefield” and “The
Wait” to the somber strum of “Wherever You Go.” No matter though; Secret Transit shows the drive and
determination to bring this pair the larger audience they deserve.
[Photo Credit: Anthony Byrd]