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Judith Fisher
judith fisher
19th July 2011

slam cartel

'Handful Of Dreams' is the debut album by London based six piece Slam Cartel and will be released on 26th July.

Having recently played a slot at Sonisphere and with a tour to back up the release in the offing, I was rather looking forward to checking out this bunch.

Consisting of Giles Van Lane (vocals), Marc Neudeck (bass), Tommy Hendriksen (Guitar), Steve Campkin (drums), Adam Lee (keyboards, guitars), and principle songwriter Terence Warville (ex Simulator) on guitar, this first album for Slam Cartel was produced by George de Angelis (who, as Trevor Horn's right hand man, worked with Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Pet Shop Boys) and recorded at Soniczoo Studios and certainly had the pedigree to be something really good.

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'Wishing Eye' kicks off in fine style with a monster riffs and walloping big drums on the intro then slips into a catchy rocker, 'Handful Of Dreams' is also rather fine, albeit a touch reminiscent of the Foo Fighters and then we hit the cover of Talking Head's classic 'Once in a Lifetime'.

Now although things start well, I'm not really sure this works for me. Turning such an off the wall tune into an Americanised rock song is something for only the brave or the foolhardy, and even given their best efforts it doesn't quite hit the mark.

'Breathe' is a slick ballad but next song up 'Shine' attempts to mix up Rage against the Machine with some melodic rock and this is where I begin to lose faith.

The problem for me with this band is that they seem to suffer from an identity crisis, their songs aren't coming across solid but flit from genre to genre and there's little fluidity in them.

When they do hit a rockier, punchier sound throughout like in 'Hold Me' and 'Mismatched Ties' they start to shine and there's no doubt that this bunch have lots of talent, but it just feels like they are trying to cover too much ground and in so doing lose a lot of appeal.

This is a pretty decent album that will definitely appeal to a rock crowd out there but with a little less production and a little more edge, once they've found their own identity I think Slam Cartel could come up with something a hell of a lot more exciting than 'Handful of Dreams' and I for one really look forward to that.


Wishing Eye, Handful Of Dreams, Once In a Lifetime (Talking Heads), Breathe, Shine, Hold Me, Free Again, Mismatched Ties, Goldenstream, Powerstorm, Maybe Sometimes, Sundown, Walk a Mile


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