Carptree - Superhero

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Fosfor Creation
Catalog Number: CWNF2
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:13:00

Sweden. Again Sweden. As long as I live I will never be able to discover where the secret lies but the number of outstanding prog acts coming from Sweden is no longer to be controlled. Carptree's self-titled debut already illustrated that the duo of Flinck and Westholm wanted to deliver a "different" kind of progressive rock, more mainstream, more with both feet in the contemporary world, more flirting with accessible parameters. On this, their second album, they use what they call the "No future orchestra," a collective of friends that they have accumulated through other Swedish acts. The result is that they can now arrange their songs in every possible direction. The opening song already proves this. "Superhero" is indeed a majestic song with not only a very catchy melody but also a very strong and powerful arrangement.

With or without a huge arrangement, the Carptree material is strong enough to stand on itself. Take "Father's House," which in fact is built around only voice and piano but benefits from ingeniously placed orchestral sections. In a way it makes me think of part of a musical where you have a multitude of different atmospheres that together create a special result. In the choir section of "Father's House" this atmosphere gets very close to the eerie work of Devil Doll. Everything is down to the vocals of Niclas Flinck who has a very "flexible" kind of voice, very theatrical, emphasising certain passages in order to leave behind exclamation marks as the music evolves. These vocals are the spine around which the Carptree body is moulded, as if a statue has been created that will stand the test of time in whatever weather conditions it is placed, whether sun or rain.

As said before this band tries to emulate a new form of progressive rock by also using unconventional instruments. Take the crafty rhythm section in "Host Vs Craft" which once again contains very catchy hooks next to a perfect balance between instruments to turn this song into yet another highlight, sporting some fantastic synth solos. You have people who need plenty of arrangements and plenty of chords in order to impress and you have people who only need a blank canvas in order to impress. Such is the beauty of "Watching The Clock," which comes like a breath of fresh air by means of fragile piano playing backed with the right dose of strings, resulting in a modern waltz. Nestling in between Devil Doll and Pain of Salvation is the devastating intro to "Into The Never To Speak Of," where the song sails towards acoustic simplicity before picking up where they left off in the first place. With "Flesh" the band approaches the unique character of Peter Gabriel, combining an accessible composition with a meaningful content. Once again "Lie Down" contains a very strong, catchy melody, for sure one of the main trademarks of the duo.

A small negative point I find is the fact that the booklet means next to nothing. I would have loved to see more information about this project as obviously a lot of preparation has gone into the creation of this masterpiece. But maybe that's just what our duo wants to achieve: to leave things open to whatever kind of interpretation happens, regardless of what the result should be. They most certainly have placed Carptree more firmly on the map and it is hoped that they see the possibility to expand this project into a band that is capable of delivering live shows in the future. It would be even better if someone out there in the big wide world sees enough potential in this work to turn it into the musical it deserves to be! For the time being Superhero will most certainly end up very high in this year's polls. One of my recent favourite discoveries!

Superhero (6:34) / Father's House (6:29) / Calm Sea Of Their Pupils (5:42) / There Like Another (4:04) / Host Vs. Graft (5:26) / Watching The Clock (4:30) / Into The Never To Speak Of (6:41) / Flesh (5:30) / Malfunction (6:20) / Lie Down (4:13) / Sleep (5:44)

Niclas Flinck - lead vocals
Carl Westholm - keyboards
"No Future Orchestra":

Ulf Edelonn - guitars, bass
Jejo Percovic - drums
Oivin Tronstad - backing vocals
Stefan Fanden - bass
Kjell Bjarnhage - snare drum
Jan Hellman - drums
Franziska Edvinsson - narration (9)

Carptree (2001)
Superhero (2003)
Man Made Machine (2005)
Insekt (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: August 24th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 711
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]