Carpets – ‘Carpets’

By Ashwin Bhandari

Not to be confused with Inspiral Carpets, who are also from Manchester, the group originated in Lincoln before venturing up north to chase the dream. Despite being a three piece, their sound is expansive and manages to build on foundations of post-punk, shoegaze and noise rock and make it into their own crafted package. Over the past few months, they’ve had exposure through BBC Radio 6 and have headlined the Manchester Academy 3, transferring their hometown fan buzz into the big city’s historic fabric.

Whilst their sound has sprinkles of Joy Divison/New Order worship, the songs all have a life of their own; it’s almost as if they guide you into the weird and wonderful world that is Carpets. Frontman Milo Flynn’s legato delivery has traces of Bernard Summer/Ian Curtis sensibilities but these comparisons all cease when they change into shrill shrieks, drowning cacophony and harsh crescendos. One moment you’re lulled into vibrant melancholy on tracks such as ‘The Pessimist’ and ‘Home’; the next, you’re thrown hurtling into uncomfortable noise rock moments with ‘SKBB’ and ‘Indead’.

Unusually for a band in this sort of scene, there are two 12 minute epic ballads: ‘Horse’ and ’80’s Team’. These are somewhat loose in their structure and yet still manage to perfectly showcase Carpets’ versatility. The drastic tonal shifts throughout the album give the feeling of one long psychedelic trip, taking you places without warning and keeping you fully immersed. When shifting to their moodier, downtrodden aesthetic, you’re rewarded with satisfying, explosive endings, with vocal lines scattering all sonic corners.

Songs the group wrote as teenagers such as ‘Fine’ have been re-recorded, this time with higher production values but keeping the raw intensity intact. Milo’s abstract songwriting is sometimes lost in the madness of the songs, but enough information makes its way through in order to keep the listener intrigued. There are obvious references to depression and despair, but others are far more cryptic.

‘The Phelps’ for example is about Milo’s best friend moving away to University, only to realise that they’ve changed over time, and as such that part of his friend he once had has died. The factor of being detached is characterised as a “swamp” which has taken away the person he knew. Clever metaphors for the ugliness of nature are circled around the album, and it makes for captivating forms of songwriting. ‘Back’ is simply about guitarist Bryn Jones wanting to return to the group after a year of being away, yet the anguished backing vocals melding into the furious drumming and pummeling riffs almost tell a different story.

This self-titled record is a solid debut for the Manchester art punk trio. It surpasses the sometimes rocky expectations of an early release and in ways, the band feels like the UK’s answer to US indie outfit Pile. The similarities of weirdness and unsettling vibes are all there, yet Carpets already have their unique sound nailed down to a T.

ASHWIN BHANDARI

 

 

 

 

 

Three more album reviews for you

Brand New - 'Science Fiction'

LIVE: Energy / Miss Vincent @ The Booking Hall, Dover

Hinder - 'The Reign'