The Carve-Up is a collection of relatively somber post-rock tracks assembled by ex-XFM London radio DJ Keith Cameron. It's made up of songs by some of the more talented artists in the post-rock genre, with a few stabs at noisy drum'n'bass and grunge. More than half of the tracks are either exclusive to the compilation or previously unavailable on CD. The general tone of the album is one of quiet introspection. It's hard to find bands making more somnabulistic music than Piano Magic, Mogwai, Low, the Pernice Brothers, Aerial M, and Arab Strap, all of whom contribute tracks to The Carve-Up. Cameron would have done well to provide more changes of pace à la the Digital Hardcore work of Bomb 20, the fun instrumental piece by Mudhoney, and the relatively energetic (compared with the remainder of the tracks) live version of "The Mercy Seat" by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Many of the tracks are so quiet that they almost cease to exist halfway through their running times. Mogwai's "Nick Drake" is one such track, stopping and pausing as frequently as it...merely murmurs. With the sweet, pretty "Joan of Arc," Low proves itself to be a band worthy of the praise it received for Things We Lost in the Fire. None of the tracks show any derivation or amazing displays of innovation. The collection serves mostly as a collection of simmering post-rock, giving a slice of the sort of music Cameron played on his radio show. While Cameron can't be faulted for compiling so many slow post-rock songs, he might have done well to stay away from the faster tracks that appear at the beginning and middle of the album, because they wrongly suggest the remainder of the compilation will include similar pace changes. With more variation, The Carve Up would have been more successful; as it stands, many of the songs shine, but the sequencing lacks energy and vision.
AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina