EP Review: Chavez Cartel’s ‘Man’s Best Friend’ EP is a blistering sonic tsunami that will deliver a noise abatement order from your neighbours if administered properly.

Feature Photograph: Justin Ma Photograph

The Breakdown

'Man's Best Friend' is beyond superlatives (although to be honest I've plundered my reserves in trying): it is a scything, eviscerating slice of pure rock'n'roll that roams and plunders the sonic landscapes at will and delivers something completely fresh and unique: cathartic filthy rock that is a pleasure to wallow in.
End of the Trail 9.0

The über cool Chavez Cartel have unleashed the filth and the fury of their new EP ‘Man’s Best Friend’ through UK’s prestigious End Of The Trail Records with a sneer and an insouciant indolence that radiates so much cool it would give you frostbite. This is a brilliant serving of gritty, posturing rock’n’roll that will seduce you and sublimate you then move on to your dearest relatives. It’s hard to believe they hail from the sunny Gold Coast where you would imagine they are forced to shelter in the basement of the houses there to escape the incessant burning daylight.

Opening track ‘Man’s Best Friend’ eviscerates any tender sensibilities and thunders straight through your body without a backwards glance. Starting with a crystalline acoustic intro, it seduces you with its warm embrace before the louche vocals scythe through the ether, disdainful, powerful and anthemic. The track then slams your nodding head into the wall with a thunderous lick and rolling riffs. With the rousing melodies, it is a pop song cloaked in malevolence and attitude as the vocals repeat lines like an ominous mantra.

The sweltering ‘Midnight Skies’ cements Chavez Cartel as overlords of dark brooding swampy music that burns with an titanium intensity: an onslaught of fiery guitars and laconic vocal delivery.

‘Coming Around’ is like an eternal chainsaw attack – visceral drums and bass chasing primal screams with no mercy, gutted by barbed-wire guitars that scream and howl with an intensity. It shreds you, tears you limb from limb with leaves you suffused with joy.

‘Writer’s Block’ prowls like a starved panther as the singer advises he just wants to use you – sentiment for which there would be, I’m sure, much gratitude. The rhythm pound incessantly like waves on a shore, creating an ominous round that instills anxiety and fear until the rousing chorus kicks in like a pair of 18 hole Doc Martens.

‘Don’t Sit Down’ adds a knowing a cheekiness to the onslaught – don’t sit down because I’ve moved your chair – with a pounding instrumentation that pictures in my mind a mash up of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and a freight train derailment.

‘Dead Weekend’ is as satisfying as the result of imbibing product distributed by a shady cartel with the same level of malevolence and threat attached. Opening with a reverberated voice, the track begins to prowl and circle with intent – an ominous guitar begins to chug under the vocals and like a spark turns into a fire, the song slowly builds up with a threat level at maximum. It becomes an out of control careering monolith filled with thunder and seething anger.

As the track reaches a crescendo, the drums pound like a sledgehammer and the guitars scream and wail with outrage. An absolutely cathartic onslaught, ending breathlessly in a feedback collapse.

Think of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, throw in a little Nick Cave and a dash of a louche, sneering leather jacketed attitude and you have a sense of what to expect. It’s deliciously dark, dramatic and barely in control with a touch of bacchanalian hedonism thrown in. The band says of the track:

‘Dead Weekend’ is all about deep self-reflection. It’s about everything we have been through to get us to where we are now – the current version of ourselves. No matter how low we allow ourselves to go in life, it’s always ultimately up to us to pick ourselves back up, and it’s also up to us on how high we are able to climb. Dead Weekend is all about that. And if you’re to look at that notion fully, it’s also up to us how to decide how low we allow ourselves to fall in the first place. Dead Weekend is brutal in its take on self-accountability, but it admits that it’s all part of the act. The title of the song is sort of like a grim way of looking at growing the fuck up and sorting out your life from the pit of the stomach. When we are younger, we tend to live for the weekend but Dead Weekend is about the stage of life a little later on when we’re looking to live for a lot, lot more.

The result is a gothic-tinged stomp in Doc Marten boots with a serious message about development and growth.

‘Man’s Best Friend’ the EP is beyond superlatives (although to be honest I’ve plundered my reserves in trying): it is a scything, eviscerating slice of pure rock’n’roll that roams and plunders the sonic landscapes at will and delivers something completely fresh and unique in the process: cathartic filthy rock that is a pleasure to wallow in.

‘Man’s Best friend’ is out now and available to download and stream through the link above and here.

Chavez Cartel are currently in the midst of a UK tour.

Feature Photograph: Justin Ma Photograph

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  1. […] Read our review of the EP here […]

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