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TRACK LIST: 1. Superhero 6:34 2. Father's House 6:29 3. Calm Sea of Their Pupils 5:42 4. There Like Another 4:04 5. Host vs. Graft 5:26 6. Watching the Clock 4:30 7. Into the Never to Speak Of 6:41 8. Flesh 5:30 9. Malfunction 6:20 10. Lie Down 4:13 11. Sleep 5:44 All music: by Westholm & Flinck. All arrangements & programming: by Westholm. All lyrics: by Flinck. LINE-UP: Niclas Flinck - lead vocals Carl Westholm (of Abstract Algebra fame) - keyboards With: Jejo Percovic (of Abstract Algebra / Candlemass fame) - drums Ulf Edelonn - guitars & basses Oivin Tronstad - backing vocals (+A few of the other session musicians) Produced & engineered by Westholm. Recorded mainly at "Fosfor" st., Sweden.
Prolusion. "Superhero" is the second album by the Swedish duo Carptree. If you wish to read the review of their debut album, click >here.
Synopsis. The most dangerous epidemic in the world of progressive music, called the Marillion wannabe-ism, has currently obtained a really precarious character, and Carptree became another free-will victim of it. Well, Niclas Flinck is a cool plagiarist rather than cool vocalist. On "Superhero", he is by no means imaginative and sings not unlike either Fish (on all of the first eight songs here) or Hogarth (on the last three ones), and the album as a whole resembles a very simplified version of something average between a classic and "new" Marillion. Here however, I should make a reservation. I remember Carl Westholm's excellent performance on the most progressive Candlemass-related album "Abstract Algebra", and Carl looks as a talented keyboardist and arranger on this output too. While on the whole; all of the songs on "Superhero" aren't notable for variety and represent the primitive alternations of couplets and refrains, the keyboard arrangements on the first two thirds of the album are not only original, but are also genuinely inventive and tasteful. The instrumental palette of the song: Watching the Clock (6) consists exclusively of passages and solos of piano and a string ensemble and features a long Classical Music-like intro. But then appeared Niclas 'Fish-Hogarth' and ruined everything. The alternation of power arrangements in couplets and mild ones in refrains is typical only for the album's title track, Calm Sea of Their Pupils, Into the Never to Speak Of, and Flesh (1, 3, 7, & 8), while Fathers' House, There Like Another, and Host vs. Graft (2, 4, & 5) are ballad-like songs. However, the weakest songs on "Superhero" are those located on the last three tracks: Malfunction, Lie Down, and Sleep. The music on each of them represents just a banal pop where there is nothing that would even remotely remind you of progressive music.
Conclusion. Musically, "Superhero" is in many ways better than the eponymous Carptree debut. I would rate it as a good album if Nicklas had found any original solution concerning vocals, which though, is beyond his power. In reality, the new Carptree album is the container of almost a totally worthless Neo, which moreover, is so 'rich' in stolen ideas. In my view, Carl should either stop all of that or call Mats Leven...
VM: June 23, 2003
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