Good Luck Cartel
Jam Jar Records.
SCQ Rating: 79%
If it seems like Olivier Jarda popped onto the East Coast music scene out of nowhere, let the obvious assumption reign. Besides a few years of silence and a Wikipedia page which lays out life-turns like a cautiously self-penned autobiography, Jarda’s musical sphere was a tough one to peer in on. But no more! After working as a climate policy analyst in Washington, Jarda’s change of heart found him moving to Halifax and writing Good Luck Cartel, a full-blooded collection that should bolster his enigmatic profile.
Bearing understated songs that cherish verse as much as any chorus, Good Luck Cartel’s promising future in the orbit of college radio doesn’t rely on quirky songwriting. In fact, Jarda’s unforced vocals – which echo the nonchalant earnestness of Walter Schreifels – and brooding approach to songwriting makes this follow-up LP a potent grower-album. While buzzing opener “Speed Of Light” and “Ship Of Fools” offer sharp hooks to nod along to, it’s Good Luck Cartel’s deep-cuts that motivate the collection best; “Piece of Fiction” crests a bittersweet goodbye over piano and acoustic guitar while “Into the Lake” gets downright sinister on an electric, late highlight. Over these tracks, Jarda submerges his pop instincts into accessible songwriter vignettes – the sort that assembles loyal, frothing fanbases. Lyrically, this disc is bursting at the seams.
A balanced yet unassuming rock record of symphonic edges and provoking sentiment, Good Luck Cartel looks to permanently supplant any lingering queries about Olivier Jarda here in 2012. Riffs can be borrowed and postures come easy, but nobody can fake an authentic, original voice. With bits of Springsteen and John K. Samson peppered in for good measure, Jarda’s truly made his mark on me.