REVIEW: Pretty Cartel – Voodoo, Belfast

prettycartelliveVoodoo, Belfast was the setting for the much anticipated debut album ‘Subbuteo Balls & Rockstars’ from Lisburn boys, Pretty Cartel.

The boys burst onto the local music scene in 2012 with their EP Tales From The Working Class and since then, have left their mark on gig goers and wider audiences alike. From their hometown venue, Alexanders, to Manchester City’s Etihad stadium and everywhere in between, thousands have heard their modern indie sound, catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics and connected with them.

During the many gigs they did in 2014, the band managed to squeeze in time to record their album at Manor Park Studios. Producing their first recordings since the original EP. The tracklisting for Subbuteo Balls & Rockstars reads a healthy ten songs with a lot of the material covering all areas of the life of working class lads.

On entering Voodoo, each person was handed a copy of the album ‘Subbuteo Balls…’ by the band members who, in fashion true to themselves, were there to greet punters as they arrived and the excitement was infectious. That and the sense that something special was about to happen.

Support came in the form of Belfast band, The Remedy and Dubliners, Late City Edition. Both were fantastic and set the tone for the night; a stylish brand of modern rock in which the bands who influenced their sound was never far from the surface. DJ Jonny Red was on the decks in between, spinning the 90s classics to get everyone pumped up.

As 11 o’clock struck, Pretty Cartel walked on stage to ‘I Wanna be Adored’ much to the adulation of the many fans, friends and family in attendance. The band would premiere the album by playing the listing track by track live for the sell out audience. Every line sung by Dee and Static was thrown back by the crowd, and it became evident that the songs in PC’s repertoire doesn’t just reflect the lives of the songwriters, but those of their fans. They see their own lives in the lyrics and it creates a belonging and a pride in who they are and where they come from.

Stand out tracks included She’s The One, It Is Now, Days Gone Bye and Singer With No Name to name a few, but one song stood out and many share the opinion that it is destined to become a hit. Twisted Soul is a powerful song, a wall of sound which captures the spirit of Pretty Cartel.  It is a statement; you can hear their influences in their music, but this is music done their way and on their terms. This is their time.

Before ending the night and kicking into ‘Subbuteo Balls’, a song for the die hard fans, front man Dee thanked the 200 plus in attendance for turning out and supporting their album launch. There is a modesty with Pretty Cartel to mirror the on stage swagger and confidence. A true appreciativeness that people would spend their hard earned money to come and support them, but there is no band that is harder working nor more deserving! Pretty Cartel are very much the people’s band. Words by Ally McKenzie. Photo by Jacqueline McFall.