Some albums are absolutely beautiful. We can love them to the point of crying, wanting to hug and kiss and caress them until they explode with what we can only imagine to be rainbows and little cartoon hearts. These albums mean something to us. They stir up our emotions and connect to our souls in a way very few other things can, and it’s safe to say that after we fall in love with these albums we truly can’t imagine life without them. In the case of Olivier Jarda and his latest release Good Luck Cartel, this is exactly what will happen.
Jarda’s creation begs the question, “where have you been all my life?” It’s beautiful. On paper (or on a disc) it’s a collection of 11 indie-folk songs, but in reality it’s so much more. There is heart to these tracks; real thought, emotion, and integrity permeate from every layer, and whether you’re listening for the first time or the hundredth you will swoon over the richness of Jarda’s voice and the gorgeous tone that surrounds it.
Recorded over a year and a half and released in April, Good Luck Cartel is a perfect example of why the best things in life are worth waiting for. He’s put obvious thought into every aspect of the album, from the perfect arrangements to the well-woven instrumental layers. By some sort of magic there is a fantastic harmony of strings, piano, guitars, and vocals, creating a sound that is rich and moving and simply mystical. At times this feeling comes from the slow tempo of some of the songs; “Diving Bell” and “Piece of Fiction” are two examples that move along slowly and tenderly, with toe-tapping beats but sweet and heartfelt melodies. Jarda’s vocals stretch out, making the most of each beat and complementing any instrumental parts (piano, guitar, strings) that might move a bit faster, while also fitting well with the lyrics and mood. “Skinny Grass”, “Tendencies”, and “Into the Lake” offer heavier or more sad sounds than the other tracks, and he’s able to match his vocals to the sound to be more believable and powerful. He seems to have an incredible understanding of how to make good music, and whether this is a skill he learned along the way or something he was naturally blessed with, it’s the basis of everything to love about this album. It’s perfection, and has something for almost everyone and every mood.
Do your ears and your heart a favour and get this album. You will fall in love and fall hard, with both the album and Olivier Jarda. Is it his voice, the lyrics, the melodies, or the emotion? Who knows. Whatever it is, Good Luck Cartel is one of the best indie-folk albums around, and you will not regret any minute you spend with it.
To hear and buy Good Luck Cartel, visit Olivier Jarda’s website. Also visit his MySpace and Facebook pages to demand more music and look for upcoming shows. Everything about this album is fantastic, and this is a love that will continue to grow.