Returning to his solo fold, Michael Carpenter delivers a tour de force of perfect jangle power pop with "Rolling Ball", his 5th record in 5 years. Highlight rich production prowess found in all this work in his professional studio in Australia, this release is colored with the assertive growth `real` talents in music bring forth with each new release. It`s a return to the sound of his earlier releases, leaving the root-pop-rock of his band Kings Rd. behind and the brisk bursts of tasty pure pop melodies and harmony-laden vocals into the forefront. Carpenter delivers melody-drenched pop music with a soaring, expressive voice. The music is pure pop, combining bright guitars and rich harmonies with tight arrangements and clear, punchy productions. While influenced by many artists (Beach Boys, The Beatles, Tom Petty, Steve Earle), his highly nuanced filtration of those influences creates imprint that is only his own. "If you are tired of talented artists who simply don`t have the writing skills to make it all happen, Michael Carpenter will be a breath of fresh air. His songs have a sincere and genuine quality sadly lacking in most of the throwaway artists of our time. Timeless and cool."-BabySue. There is not a wasted second on "Rolling Ball", each song hitting its target perfectly. On his earlier work, MOJO wrote: ""An artist made in Heaven for MOJO readers. Well, if not Heaven exactly, a home studio somewhere in deepest Oz.". Michael Carpenter is a national treasure for Australia. The ample proof is fully abundant and a joy-filled pleasure. But this new one is another Carpenter winner---and, yes, arguably his finest and most ambitious yet. Features help from Adam Power, Rob Smith and ex-Kings Rd. drummer Nando Pettinato.
"4 stars..Michael Carpenter produced some of the best singer/songwriter rock & roll records around the turn of the millennium, but until 2003`s Kings Rd. Works he was handling most of the instrumentation, recording, and production entirely himself. It seemed that having a full band in the studio with him would provide an extra dose of power and energize his normally humble efforts, but for some reason the end result was a record that sounded more constrained than his prior work and came off as a bit of a disappointment. He retrenched with the follow-up, 2004`s brilliant Rolling Ball, a dizzyingly diverse record that borrows from a cornucopia of styles and bursts with enthusiasm. Rolling Ball doesn`t represent a break from form so much as an increase in focus: this is still the same Michael Carpenter who`s been releasing rootsy and earnest pop/rock records since 1999. It is a return, at least to some extent, to the sound of Carpenter`s first (and best) record, Baby, but not self-consciously so. Instead, Carpenter has shattered the "next Tom Petty" tag and realized that his many influences, which he has always tended to wear on his sleeve throughout his records, can merge to create a record that sounds like his own work, and that part of that process is to actually allow them to seep through fully. Essentially, Rolling Ball is where Carpenter decided to stop recognizing the boundaries of his influences and to instead fully integrate them, and the end result is excellence: the title track and "Emily Says" recall classic bubblegum, "The Ache" nods toward the twang of the Byrds` Sweetheart of the Rodeo without cribbing too liberally from the source material, ballads like "Good Enough" and "Everyday" resonate in a way that his slower material didn`t before (especially on Kings Rd. Works, where they were the obvious Achilles` heel), and he also creates some of the most complex and dizzyingly diverse songs of his career, in particular the neo-psychedelic "The Day Before." Building from tense and foreboding verses, the song bursts into an anthemic, chunky classic rock-styled chorus before sinking again into the pulsating depths of the Nuggets-inspired verses. It`s one of the best examples yet put to tape of just how much this artist is capable of achieving, and stands as the centerpiece of his brilliant return to form."-AMG.
"If one tracks the progression of Carpenter`s solo output, from Baby through Hopefulness to Kings Rd Works, it`s apparent that it becomes less and less easy to play "guess the influence": like a butterfly from a cocoon, Carpenter`s own voice and unique sound emerges bit by bit from CD to CD. Finally, with Rolling Ball, Michael Carpenter has recorded an entire album that sounds like nobody but Michael Carpenter. And, to paraphrase soon-to-be-incarcerated domestic diva Martha Stewart, that`s a very good thing, indeed. Save for the giddy, rollicking title track, there` s less jangle than usual on Rolling Ball; in its place is more of a solid, meaty rock sound. Don`t get me wrong: there`s plenty of melody here, to be sure-it`s just that Carpenter has upped the power quotient in this latest batch of songs. Highlights include "Emily Says," a driving story song with a minor key bridge; the anthemic roots rock of "You and Me"; and the neo-psychedelic "The Day Before," which manages to tip its cap to both the Zombies and the Dukes of Stratosphear. Rolling Ball is a worthy addition to Michael Carpenter`s recorded oeuvre-he deserves kudos for refusing to remain confined to his pigeonhole, no matter how comfortable it may have become."-Amplifier"The only problem that I have with this record, is to decide whether I love more the good old, super catchy power-pop vibes, hitting you right in the head from the very beginning with the title tune, or the songs carrying the torch of widening the sound-scape, which they easily do. If youre up for the the ones that will grab you by their hook the second you hear them, try also "Emily says", with its Hollies-esque melody and West-Coast-ish harmonizing, causing the same pain inside as the Cosmic Rough Riders, powered up with a bit of Costello, or the one that would surely sound "Good enough" on a `best of` release by either Elvis Costello (again) or Jellyfish... "The day before" will take you to an unexpectedly dark, psychedelic corner, lasting only while Michael manages to push back the melodical outburst, which he does but not longer than until the first chorus and at the end of album, there`s also an acoustic, unlisted surprise tune, that wouldn`t sound out of place on Paul Weller`s "Wildwood". This album WILL last!"-POPISM.
"its the classic, melodic Carpenter sound which prevails on the majority of tracks here, chiming, bright guitars, perfect harmonies and those melodies which stay with you from the second you first hear them. The album opens with the title track, one of the more up beat power pop songs which Carpenter seems to write so effortlessly, full of those trademark harmonies but with a rockier edge than a lot of his past work. Then Carpenter hits us with not one but three of his best compositions with the songs which follow. With Carpenters always excellent back catalogue that might seem hard to believe, but, believe it, these songs really are Carpenters best work. ..With this album Carpenter has really produced his best work to date. Its puzzling as to exactly why the vocals stand out so much this time, but maybe weve finally realized what was there all along; Carpenter really does stand alone and produces a sound all of his own. His songs in the past have been so good weve been trying to work out where he must have lifted this bit from, what inspired that tune, but with this release well have to face up to the truth; Carpenter is a major talent and one of a kind."-PennyBlackMusic
"Carpenter delivers 11 powerfully melodic treatises on the wide swath of human emotion, set against a distillation of pop conventions and sounds drawn from decades of what has come before and synthesized into a wholly wonderful pop melange, delivered with love and care. The entire album is a collective highlight.. This is one of the year`s best, and is recommended without reservation." - buhdge.com.
"What Carpenter has done is what so many artists
should do, but so few manage. Somewhat akin to one of
his musical heroes, Tom Petty, Carpenter has found a
way to expand the scope and style of his music with
each new release, while never undertaking a radical
wants to reach people, he cares about people and this
drives his writing. Combined with his innate talent
at creating memorable pop songs in the Beatles/Beach
Boys/etc. tradition, it almost always produces
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Listen - mp3
Listen - mp3
Listen - mp3
Listen - mp3
Listen - mp3