Review – “Good Luck Cartel” – Olivier Jarda

reviewed by Laura Stanley

The first thought that came to mind when I started listening to Olivier Jarda’s new record Good Luck Cartel was “How in the hell have I never heard of him before?!” An album full of polished indie-folk songs that are the perfect listener-friendly sound that allowed the genre to become as popular as it is, makes Good Luck Cartel an understated treasure.

Taking a year and a half to make the record, Jarda’s arrangements are layered but not too complex while his lyrics are imaginative but still incredibly melodious – the perfect combination. The time it took for Jarda to record Good Luck Cartel was obviously put to good use.

“Speed of Light,” the opener, is jammed pack with catchy hooks as the instrumentation arrangement swells with fuzzy guitars, strings, and an uptempo percussion section that’s undoubtedly head-bobbing material.  A tenderness in Jarda’s voice is one that’s everywhere in the album but beautifully shown in “Speed of Light,” particularly with my favourite line, “Cause I’m lonely and I’m broke/I will not let you go.”

The following song, “Diving Bell” and later, “Skinny Grass” are similar to the opener in terms of the skillful multi-layered aspects. “Diving Bell” with the return of the strings and a great piano inclusion while “Skinny Grass” is a harmonious electric guitar filled stunner.

Though Good Luck Cartel has a folk-base throughout, as the album progresses most of the tracks turn into much more folkier affairs. “Fiddle” and “Piece of Fiction” have a similar stripped-down acoustic guitar, piano combo that provide a sweet sounding background for Jarda’s words filled with melancholy. “Uncle” is another stripped-down song but it is its story that makes it an absolutely outstanding song.

“Into The Lake” is the most different sounding song from the album. Ominous sounding to say the least, a thunderous percussion section takes control, appropriately submerging you with its sound. Although it’s different from the rest of Good Luck Cartel it is not as if it’s an unwelcome addition. The emotion that had been behind each track through the album finally hits its peak with “Into The Lake” for a glorious outcome.

Olivier Jarda’s Good Luck Cartel is with very few missteps and is an album that needs to be known.

Good Luck Cartel is available on iTunes and Bandcamp.

Top Tracks: “Speed of Light,” “Skinny Grass,” “Uncle”  

Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*

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