The Saint Alvia Cartel

The Saint Alvia Cartel

The Saint Alvia Cartel

The Saint Alvia Cartel


Though Ontario, Canada’s The Saint Alvia Cartel is not just another band trying desperately to be The Clash, they have tapped into the eclectic influence and joyous spirit that made those London boys so great. This 2008 debut may not be comparable to the Clash’s1977 self-titled classic, it’s still worlds better than most of the music currently being released and labeled as “punk.”

Starting things off with a bang, “Karma Kill Me Again” finds the missing link between The Who and Rancid. The follow-up tune, “Don’t Wanna Wait Forever,” has a Trojan Records ska groove overlaid with electronic effects. It sounds hideous, but it’s actually quite innovative. The vocals on this and most other songs are shared by multiple voices, each with its own distinct style.

“Dirty Dent” will throw you even further off track if you’re trying to nail this band down to a single genre. Beginning with a Beastie Boys-style rant, the song turns slightly emo-core, before taking a turn in the classic rock direction complete with a wailing guitar solo. This is one of my least favorite tracks on the album, but still noteworthy for the risks it takes. Far more successful in its ability to mash up seemingly unrelated genres is “Business as Usual.” Listen closely and you’ll hear a bit of U2 and The Thompson Twins blended into Sandinista!-era Clash. Finishing up the band’s tour of music, “Stones on the Road” eases us out with an acoustic sing-a-long.

Offering listeners a breath of fresh air, The Saint Alvia Cartel could prove to be the most exciting band on this summer’s Warped Tour. Though probably destined for a small stage tucked in between the pizza stand and the inflatable water slide, this will be the band worth planning your day around.

Songs to fall in love with: “Time To Go,” “Blonde Kryptonite,” “Dead and Gone.”

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