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(60:32, Transubstans Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Headcase 6:06 2. Gaze Thru the Days I'll Hide 3:56 3. Without a Past 3:36 4. Eternal Sleep 7:17 5. Cosmical Mind 5:43 6. Lost 6:54 7. If Soon I Will Be You 5:48 8. Magical Space-Style 5:19 9. Why Am I 5:25 10. Forever Is a Long Time 10:28 LINEUP: Jocke – guitars; vocals Manne – vocals; flute Par – bass Pelle – drums Tobbe – guitars
Prolusion. The Swedish band THE CARPET KNIGHTS has been around since the late ‘90s, and with "According to Life" they have issued their second full length effort to date, following fours years after their initial release "Lost and so Strange Is My Mind". Their record label of choice is the Swedish company Transubstans Records, which has made a name for itself as something of a niche label for those who have a special appreciation for artists exploring the retro realms of ‘70s inspired art- and hard rock in various guises.
Analysis. When someone familiar with progressive rock comes across a band sporting a lead vocalist who also handles the flute, it usually won't take long before one starts thinking about Jethro Tull – one of the better known bands in the genre, with a widespread popularity also outside of progressive rock circles. And when The Carpet Knights choose to open this latest effort of theirs with a song featuring key segments that could have been lifted from any Jethro Tull album from the first half of the ‘70s they invite being compared to that band. Headscape is a great track too, blending some neat psychedelic textures with the folk-tinged art rock Ian Anderson & Co made a career out of exploring. The next four tracks are more average affairs, though. The psychedelic aspirations suddenly take a back seat, the folk-inspired touches are toned down, while a mellow variety of stoner rock comes more to the forefront in songs that are a bit too eclectic for their own good. Somehow the variety of stylistic expressions utilized doesn't manage to enhance these efforts, and tends to distract from the overall listening experience. And at this stage I had to give this album a pause, mentally becoming stuck with the notion that this would be one of those discs sporting a brilliant opening number and lots of filler material. But when I picked up this album again I was given a positive surprise. From the track Lost and out this production The Carpet Knights have got their balancing act back on track, and while not as brilliant sounding as opening number Headcase, the second half of "According to Life" contains a fine set of strong compositions blending folk-tinged art rock, stoner rock and ‘70s inspired psychedelic progressive rock in generally strong and at times truly inspired songs. Intriguing affairs mostly evolving towards a distinct psychedelic expression rather than taking it on at the onset, these creations really managed to get my full attention with ease. Lead vocalist Manne deserves a special mention. His dark voice suits the material very well, and his strong and distinct delivery comes across as top notch, truly enhancing the compositions. And while this doesn't lead to a brilliant end result as such, those with a soft spot for good vocals might find it interesting to give this disc a shot for that reason alone.
Conclusion. Transubstans Records is a haven for anyone with more than a passing interest in ‘70s inspired material, and The Carpet Knights is another good example of just that. Those who might fancy a band residing in the borderlands between psychedelic progressive rock and stoner rock should take heed of this band and this particular production, especially if they don't mind experiencing the Jethro Tull inspired passages that pop up from time to time.
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