KaiserCartel’s March Forth

A little goes a long way. Grandpa and everyone else have repeated this saying countless times, but for the most part the saying is shrugged off — the true sense of the words only come across once in a great while. After seeing the two-piece band KaiserCartel at the Highdive this July and listening to their first full length March Forth, that taken-for-granted saying has never rung more true in my ears — gramps was right after all.
KaiserCartel is Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel of Brooklyn, New York. As a first album, March Forth is a testimony of love and travel, and love of travel. The CD opens with “Oh no”, which sets a steady pace for the album and showcases Kaiser’s vocals. Catchy melodies and dead-on harmonies with Cartel ensue in the chorus and tasteful chord changes keep the music interesting but not distracting. The album continues with the driving “Season Song” (which incorporates playful whistling) and follows with an enticing beat switch by Cartel to a shuffle in “Travelling Feet”. The album starts to lag a little with “The Flood,” where Cartel takes somewhat timid lead vocals, but all is redeemed with “Okay,” the most memorable song on the album. Kaiser’s vocals on “Okay” are absolutely entrancing, and the honest lyrics with the beautiful harmonies reveal a captivating passion between these two musicians that make anyone listening feel way more than just “okay”.
Aside from being produced by Matt Hales of Aqualung and being mixed by Ken Thomas of Sigur Ros (no big deal for a first album right?), what’s impressive about March Forth is the simplicity of the parts played by Cartel and Kaiser and the ridiculously full sound that is created from the tactful combination of those parts.

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