Band Website: www.carptree.com
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2010
I first got into Carptree with their third CD Man Made Machine and I have to admit I was hooked right away to band’s musical style. Here we are with their fifth recording entitled Nymf and I’m more a fan than ever. The core of the band revolves around the duo of Carl Westholm (keyboards) and Niclas Flink (lead vocals). As on the last couple releases they’ve surrounded themselves with what they refer to as the No Future Orchestra consisting of Ulf Edelonn (guitars), Jejo Perkovic (drums), Stefan Fanden (bass), Oivin Tronstad (background vocals) and Cia Backman (background vocals). The Carptree sound is large and dramatic and yet it can also be soft and delicate but throughout you get a sense of grand scale filled with tension. They sound unlike any thing else I’ve ever heard.
There are seven tracks on Nymf running a total of about 45-minutes. Things get underway with “Kicking and Collecting” [7:05] and it’s like being thrust into the middle of a movie. The tension is palpable right off the bat. After a brief intense rhythmic build up that lasts a minute we’re into the first part of the song that alternates between a hard driving synth/guitar style riff and a softer plaintive voice/piano/wall of strings. Add some great tubular bells, female operatic vocal accents, huge drums and some clever lyrics and ladies and gentlemen we have a winner! The composition consists, as do most here, with an alternating loud and soft, aggressive and restrained approach. Each extreme makes the other that much more impressive. The music of Carptree is richly orchestrated with layers of keyboards but there are plenty of solos opportunities for all. And then the songs each have moments where voices or sounds lend so much to propelling the story along. The over all tone is one of haunting, melancholy, a kind of lost-love. It’s dramatic and full of imagery. But even though the tunes weave in and out of ever changing musical segments they’re also tightly connected by some absolutely brilliant melody lines. You can actually come away humming many parts. The final track is so appropriate. Entitled “Water” [5:46] it features a plaintive approach, almost pleading. It’s heart-breaking. And yet the layers of orchestration are done in wonderful major chords like a choir from heaven conveying a sense of hope.
Carptree are one of my favorite heavy symphonic bands. There are brief moments where they come off as guitar crunchy but it’s rarely for very long. Instead that heaviness, while fronted by the guitar is embellished with the massive orchestrations. This is epic stuff, with grand chords and minor keys. It’s breathtaking. Nymf is easily a favorite of mine for 2010 and highly recommended.