Label: Tin Angel Release date: 14/06/10 Link: Myspace Black Carrot, a quintuplet hailing from Market Harborough in Leicestershire, are experimentalists in one guise and a jazzy bluesy kraut rock band in another. Known for their improvisations and their avant garde songs, they tend to rip through as many different influences and styles as possible within each and song they write. While this can be fascinating, it doesn’t always work. Their latest offering opens with 'No One Sings Songs for Guilty Men', a steady beat, almost military paced, which takes the guise of a folk song almost, but played through a very different format. If it wasn’t so quintessentially English in its approach and accent it could quite easily be taken as part of the New York anti folk scene. This runs into 'Cardboard Soup', 4 minutes and 27 seconds of exploring ideas wrapped up in free form jazz and noise, a close link to fellow English experimenters Nurse With Wound, and perhaps, to a lesser extent, Throbbing Gristle and Black Dice. After this we are treated to what is perhaps the most structured piece of music so far, 'The One That Got Away', a fantastic loose track focused around a kraut blues rock rhythm, draped in Stewart Brackleys vocals, making one hell of a good track. This then thunders on to 'Onomatopoeia', a track so beautifully styled it sounds like The Stooges playing with Tom Waits thanks to Olly Warren’s guitar work and the again fantastic vocals from Brackley. This then moves onto 'The Hush Hour' a slow, meandering song that unfortunately fails to go anywhere important. However, this is then lifted by 'The Detonation tonight will be S-Ray', a wonderfully slap-bass heavy funk tune, one of the biggest standouts on this album. It pulses its way with a fantastic slap bass line courtesy of Brackley which carries the song with all the pace and thunder of Neu! back in their hay day. After a brief interlude consisting of a simple elevator music style, we plunge back into the depths of psychedelic Can-esque territory with 'Sleep' pacing through a slow wandering Kraut influenced tune with stretched but emotive vocals sailing on top to create a masterly crafted song before waltzing into 'Magnets', a choral and cleverly orchestrated piece that sounds like it’s come straight from a west end musical. Whist cleverly made, it starts to stretch the patience here in the album. We are then put in the home straight guided by the pounding drums of Tom Betts again in 'Blackmail', and as with a lot of this album we are given a taste of another interpretation of kraut rock through this band’s very able hands and again it is dealt with exceptionally well, this time interpreted in the same way as LCD Soundsystem so often do – build it up slowly with the rhythm and add more and more and play it louder. We then find ourselves having to listen to what is perhaps the weakest moment of this album, 'The Queen of Protest', an early prog influenced song that covers the side of psychadelia that is best left well alone – the slow song coated in allegory and accompanied with only piano and sitar. Finally we reach 'The Top of The Hill', a wandering song that builds up into what sounds like a Gorrilaz B side, complete with wobbling guitar and vocals through a loudspeaker; not a bad song but one that gets old after hearing once. This is an album of real highs and real lows – the good songs are absolutely fantastic but there are moments in it that stretch the patience of the listener too much for my liking. It takes a few spins to get into, but it’s worth it for the highs if you give it the time. Photobucket