The Saint Alvia Cartel Between the Lines

The Saint Alvia Cartel Between the Lines
With Between The Lines, the Saint Alvia Cartel successfully avoid the sophomore slump and transcend their "former members of” status in a single bound. Whereas the band’s self-titled debut showed a group unafraid to push genre boundaries, creating a record that was a breath of fresh air in the process, Between The Lines ups the ante in a way that would make the Clash stand up and take notice. Album opener "Walk Before You Run DMC” might catch one off guard at first but fuck if it isn’t one of the best tracks on the album, jumping into previously unexplored waters of old school hip-hop, sounding like a less angry, more melodic Transplants. "Roll With It” shows hints of doo-wop, while "At Least (I’m On My Own)” is a heartfelt country/folk number, and both manage to retain enough balls to remind you that these Burlington boys are still a punk band at heart. But the true gems are "Drugs,” "Are You Serious?” and the politically charged "Americafioso,” which sport some of the catchiest, up-beat group sing-alongs ever put to plastic. Saint Alvia are a band steeped in tradition and unafraid to show it but they also aren’t scared of pushing the envelope a little. It’s a combination sorely lacking in the genre today.

How was the ceremony at the Juno awards?
Vocalist/guitarist Rob Pasalic: There was an incident where Ben [Rispin] got on stage when Finger Eleven won the award and gave them sort of a Kanye West thing and they told us we weren’t welcome at the Junos the next night. So we were sitting in the bar the next morning drinking Caesars and fucking around when we got a call saying that "unless it was cleared with Finger Eleven personally, security is not welcoming you guys or your crew [to the ceremony].” It was all in good fun. They’re buddies from Burlington and were actually laughing pretty hard when we had to call them and say, "can you call the Junos and get them to let us in?”

How was the recording process this time around?
It’s been a gong show of a year for us, just working and touring up, down and everywhere. I don’t want to say we had to pull a whole new record out of our asses but in actual terms of having to harness the energy that we’ve been sitting on — material and demos and shit — then to actually say, "okay, it’s time to bone up and start rehearsing and put it together,” the constraints and timing and shit under which we did this really pounded us. But we pulled it off and nailed it, and it’s something that we’re all really proud of.

So what were you listening to for this album?
I think the biggest influence is that it’s a year later, and being in a band with all these guys and the fact that we’re all that much better as a band and playing together. We all know our respective instruments that much better but just knowing each other influence-wise and understanding that, "oh, you like Motown” and "when I say something, you understand what I mean” [made a huge difference]. (Stomp)