Carptree returns with their fifth album entitled Nymf, which is a sequel to the previous album, Insekt. It’s also the shortest album of their catalog. The band still continues as a duo, Carl Westholm (keyboards) and Niclas Flink (vocals), plus the No Future Orchestra which consists of Ulf Edelonn (electric & acoustic guitars), Stefan Fanden (Bass, Bouzouki, Fretless E-bow, additional guitars), Cia Backman & Oivin Tronstad (backing vocals) and Jejo Perkovic (drums).
Opening the album is the dark yet powerful orchestral sounding “Kicking And Collecting” (7:05) which continues the band’s creative and emotion driven music. Everyone is in top form here. This is one of my favorites off the album as well as an all time favorite of the band’s catalog.
Next is “Land Of Plenty” (7:34) which takes things down a notch while still remaining within a dark atmospheric sound that began with the opening track. It kicks in around the 3 minute mark and about a minute later goes through an orchestral based sound. Imagine modern day Porcupine Tree mixed in with Fish-era vocals and you get the basic picture of how this song sounds like.
We come to “The Weight Of Knowledge“ (6:51) which is another favorite of mine both on this album and the entire Carptree catalog. The sound continues in a dark atmospheric vein of the previous two tracks yet in a more somber way. This has a quality to it that remains with me long after the song and album are finished. I’ve found myself humming along with this song while it played as well as other times when it wasn‘t.
“Dragonfly” (8:20) is the longest track on the album and if I had to pick one song to best describe this album’s overall sound, then this would be the one. It continues onward within a dark melodic vein but this time with a slight complex side while still remaining accessible. There’s a mysterious vibe in the way Niclas expresses his vocals here, more so than any other track. There are some heavy elements at play as well, it’s done without veering into the progressive metal territory.
“Between Extremes (Prelude)” (2:12) serves as a nice little segue way between the previous and the next track, “Sunrays” (6:35). “Sunrays” has an urgency intro which leads back into something that reminds me of the works of Danny Elfman mixed within the trademark Carptree sound. There’s also some elements of The Beatles just before the 2 minute mark. The song isn’t as dark as the previous tracks and is, in my opinion, the most accessible song on the album.
The last track on the album, “The Water” (5:46), I think ends off this amazing album in a somber way. It’s more acoustic and revisits some music and lyrical themes started in “Dragonfly”. This is such a beautiful song that I find myself playing over and over as I just don’t want the album to end.
In closing, Carptree continues with some memorable music here on Nymf. It doesn’t fail on delivering the goods. While not my overall favorite album, that honor goes to Man Made Machine, it is a very important part of the Carptree catalog. If you liked the direction that the band started back on Man Made Machine, then you will absolutely need to acquire Nymf ASAP!
This is one of my favorite releases of 2010 and gets a high recommendation.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on December 11th, 2010