Pop/rock quartet Cadet follows up a strong eponymous debut by unleashing a brawny sophomore effort rife with hook-heavy guitar riffs, crisp harmonies, and smartly crafted lyrics. Sporting a fuzz-tinged sound reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World and Green Day, Cadet stands apart by embracing a wholly positive, Christian-based motif. Whereas the band's first release resonated a rockabilly-meets-punk-pop vibe, The Observatory generates a weightier alternative rock panache with some British elements thrown in for good measure. That's not to say Cadet completely metamorphosed for this project, but rather that this time out the outfit was influenced by groups such as Coldplay and U2. Other mainstream influences also surface, especially on the Weezer-style cut "Stuck in a Song" and the Beatlesque track "Wishing Well." While all the bandmembers seem abundantly proficient in their respective roles, frontman Ryan Smith stands apart. His solid vocal aplomb compares favorably with Jars of Clay's Dan Haseltine in his prime. Moreover, the disc's thought-provoking subject matter, which addresses everything from eschewing pride to finding hope, lends itself nicely to the spirited delivery found here. Intense and enduringly tuneful, The Observatory is a superlative representation of Cadet's artistic maturity and first-rate talent.
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AllMusic Review by David McCreary