Somewhere between Pink Floyd and Arve Henriksen, Grizzly Bear and The Antlers – the German quintet Carpet weave their own colourful thread.
Carpet released their third album “Secret Box” back in May. It saw the Augsburg five-piece develop their stealthy sound on 8 tracks, straying even further into the ethereal. They dial back the prog/psych rock elements, from cover illustration and album title to the length and tone of the songs. The album isn’t unclassifiable, but it succeeds better in carving a niche for the band than its predecessor “Elysian Pleasures”.
Describing their music as “jazz from hell”, Carpet take cues from Pink Floyd and Arve Henriksen; the dry, organic sound of Grizzly Bear and the subtleness of the Antlers’ “Familiars” save it from being overly psychedelic. It also goes to show just how much a rock band set-up can profit from the inclusion of a brass player. Martin Lehmann’s contributions on trumpet and horn contribute immensely to the singularity of Carpet’s music.
Second single “One Step / Minuet” is one of the more traditional songs on the album, building from a steady drum beat into a pleasantly subdued jazz rock track. The trumpet flutters around Maximilian Stephan’s voice and goes from accompanying a downward chord change to leading an ascending melody into the second part of the song.
Meticulously, Carpet create their songs in a way that puts everything in its right place, while still leaving space for improvisation and imagination. And yes, the Radiohead reference in the previous sentence mirrors a kinship in composition.
They are a great live band, too. The concert setting adds to the already full-bodied songs and lets you experience music as a three-dimensional art form. Thinking metaphorically, their sound really does feel like a carpet: cosy and ornamental, but with a whole world of glistening dust inside its fibres.
Stream “Secret Box” LP on Spotify.