CARPTREE – Man Made Machine

CARPTREE - Man Made Machine


Release date: August 31, 2005

User Review
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Swedish duo Carptree returns with Man Made Machine, their third release since the 2001 debut. With an emotionally conceptual approach, large orchestrations, and surprisingly heavy guitars, they take a small and very naturally evolving step further forward. Having been labeled anything from Modern Progressive to Post Progressive Art Pop, Carptree prove that they don’t care as much for genres as they do to for music.

The Music

You see, the most striking feature to Man Made Machine is the musicality. Sure, one can relate it to Progressive or Symphonic, considering the orchestral arrangements and time and structural development. One can also relate to labeling it Art Pop for the sake of the slightly pretentious message, yet incredibly catchy choruses. To define this album with a simple term would kill the immense artistic effort so delicately presented.

So what does this mean practically? Well, Nicklas Flink’s signature voice, along with a handful of Carl Westholm’s simple, yet powerful piano themes or figures, defines a state of mind. Without explicitly describing this state of mind, it is somewhat delusional and melancholic complaining (or sore?). Adding the powers of electric guitars, drums, bass, a generous selection of keyboard sounds, and a choir, Carptree ends up with an expression that consumes your senses.

With all songs working tightly together, it’s hard to sort out the quality of each track. Actually, there are no bad songs, although “The Recipe” might threaten to laugh up the mood brought on by “In The Centre Of An Empty Space,” and later culminating with relief in “This Is Home.” At the same time, “The Recipe” adds an uplifting something to the context one could hardly do without.

The Band

Carptree’s musical expression poorly matches the fact that they are officially just a duo! Looking at who contributes with instruments or voices on any of their albums, the truth reveals in actuality a duo with friends (also known as the No Future Orchestra), and thus a quite dynamic expression, uniquely distinguishing one album from another. The selection of friends from backgrounds quite far from a typical Progressive path, also makes Carptree stand out as a band. Man Made Machine is perhaps their most elaborate effort, as the “guest list” includes a two-digit number of individuals and nothing less than a choir in “The Weakening Sound.”

The Verdict

Even if Man Made Machine is slightly harder and more aggressive than the previous releases, you ought to look elsewhere if Metal is your thing. On the other hand, this album offers a range in expressions rarely found, and this is accomplished without compromising the overall unifying sound and musicality. Actually, Man Made Machine is reminiscent of a jigsaw puzzle: each song (or even the elements within each song) is another piece and only when the uplifting harmonies of concluding track “This Is Home” appears, can the picture show through as complete. Such artistic design bears witness of natural talent and excellent craftsmanship in fulfilled symbiosis. In other words: check out this album!


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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