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Carptree - Nymf CD (album) cover




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2 stars Brand new fifth album from the neo-prog duo of Niclas Flinck and Carl Westholm. Carptree have made a very good impression to prog fans over the years and earned respect, especially after "Man Made Machine" in 2005. According to the band's website, this is a sequel to "Insekt". "Nymf" is in the same vein: melodic vocals (reminding Pendragon) with dramatic (sometimes dark) arrangements. Their collaboration with the No Future Orchestra is once again successful. Carptree manage to sound like a band, more than a project of two old friends who undoubtly love what they do and a have an obvious thing for insects.

The music here is very good, especially Westholm's keyboard playing and the texture of the songs is the typical Carptree thing, i.e. a combination of modern neo-prog with pop elements and very emotional vocal lines. The album begins with "Kicking and collecting", with a very interesting intro, which gives way to Flinck's dramatic vocal lines and a great keyboard solo towards the end. "Kicking and collecting" and "Between Extremes", the only instrumental track in the album, are probably the best moments in "Nymf". The compostitional standards are generally not very high, apart from some melodic lines and very good solos by Westholm. This is my objection to "Nymf" and maybe the music of Carptree in general. While appreciating Westholm's ideas (not only in Carptree by the way), I find Flinck's singing so melodramatic and cheesy, that it makes it really difficult to be positive after listening to the album several times.

Report this review (#301328)
Posted Friday, October 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I recieved one promo copy.I am sure I ll get one original.

!!!!What an intense album is this ˇˇˇˇ

Caprtee is a kind of dark,emotive .neo prog...very dramatic..

Sometimes i feel i am hearing a Devill Doll album,sometimes Marillion (today's era)..sometimes Pendragon......some heavy neo-prog some psychedelic neo prog ..

This album if of course the best in their career a mature album ..with very good songs...very original songs so different to what we are accustom to listen in neo prog nowadays... This is a excellent really addition to prog music...something refreshing...something strong and emotive...something new.. So congratulations to Carptree for such an inspired work.

You can love this work or you can hate this work..because is very have to listen to it many times..

In neo prog matters in my opinion this is a 5 stars album

Report this review (#301355)
Posted Friday, October 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While I really enjoy the music of CARPTREE upon first listen--it never fails to entertain, has good melodies and very lush sound production--I eventually lose interest; it becomes nice background music but nothing I want to fully attend to or engage with. The music of Nymf is, however, IMHO the best I've heard from them. "Land of Plenty" has me sinking back into the best of 80s MARILLION. "The Weight of Knowledge" could have been a good PINK FLOYD outtake from the 80s or 90s. The albums weakest moments are, for me, in "Between Extremes, Prelude" (a derivative of the album's first song) and "Sunrays" which have me feeling really stuck in the 80s--as if I'm listening to PSYCHEDELIC FURS or PETER SCHILLING. The opener, "Kicking and Collecting," suffers from the syndrome of many CARPTREE songs: What initially feels like tension and drama in each song, over a whole album- -and over time--begins to feel like melodrama. Again, nice production and keyboard work.
Report this review (#326308)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Swedish combo CARPTREE was formed by Niclas Flinck and Carl Westholm back in 1997, and released their self-titled debut album four years later. 4 more productions have followed, of which "Nymf" from 2010 is the most recent.

The slightly bleak symphonic art rock universe explored on "Nymf" might be something of an acquired taste, but those who have enjoyed the previous efforts by this band as well as those who have a soft spot for Westholm's metal-based endeavor Jupiter Society should feel right at home with this CD. As far as further recommendations go, I'd imagine that many who enjoy acts like Porcupine Tree might appreciate this one, and those who tend to be captivated by the gentler and sophisticated varieties of progressive metal might be an additional possible audience.

Report this review (#400559)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars He finally sings!

Let me announce, that the 5th album from this neo Swedish duo, is by far their best. As they say themself in a PA interview (and I'm still willing for a link between artist pages to interviews), this album is another step in their maturation. I definitely agree. The songs are as good as in the previous album 'Insekt'. Maybe a bit less deep and versatile, but on the other hand gain a better flow, cohesiveness and catchiness. However, the main benefit here is a huge improvement in Niclas Flinck's vocals and performance, and that's make the whole difference. I quite agree with the reviewers that pointed on some flaws on Flinck's singing so far, but I always felt that there is a real potential there, that maybe one day will be fulfilled. In this album it really happens, and that's wonderful.

This album is relatively short, 46 minutes long, and holds 7 excellent songs, with a few schmaltzy moments here and there. But still it's on the right side of the fence, and these not- to-many moments are always balanced by some intricate harmonies and less expected melodies. Apart from this we get great moog solos (or moog-like), a real grand piano, (not the usual dubious piano samples), and a bit of keyboards strings, that, due to a clever sound and playing from talented Carl Westholm, really sounds like STRINGS. Generally there are interesting arrangements, and great sound and production. Along with Flinck's improved vocals, we get a lovely package, and a true 'album experience', which is so hard to find nowadays.

The album opens with 'Kicking and collecting'. The atmosphere moves between contemplative to some dramatic moments. It continues with even more dramatic 'Land of plenty', with a very powerful finale that suit to the tragic lyrics. There are some other mood changes along this album, and it ends up with the lyrical and calm 'the Water' song, with great moog solo, and soft and gentle fender-like sounds toward the end.

So kudus to Carptreee for this album. Now just one thing: They said in the PA interview that in nowadays realm, they are quite desperate to release another albums, and will concentrate from now in publish songs as standalones, EP's, or something alike. Now it's our job to dissuade them from doing so, simply by buying this album. For now, (review date), due to a brief search on the internet, there are some physical copies only at the 'just for kicks' recordstore. Hence maybe this duo will change their mind and offers us another album soon, and another addition of this one. Yes, maybe I'm just na've but I decided at least to try. They really deserve this little effort from me, due to an excellent and very enjoyable album. 4 shining stars.

Report this review (#635382)
Posted Saturday, February 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars On Nymf, Carptree's dark, almost gothic take on Floydian neo-prog comes to a polished fruition, sounding extremely modern and building on the musical traditions represented in it rather than slavishly imitating them. Within the neo-prog sphere, the band definitely tend towards the current Marillion format of prizing evocative, atmospheric soundscapes over technical complexity, and they soundscapes they choose to explore are evocative if generally familiar. At turns morbid, melancholy, reflective and resigned, the band seems to follow a vague sort of concept, but whether or not you can follow it is another matter - still, if you can't get enough of this sort of thing, that probably won't matter to you. That said, the vocals this time around are a little overplayed, to an extent where it ends up overpowering the music.
Report this review (#745392)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars The first four albums were all released two years apart, but it took three years for the fifth to see the light of day, and what wasn't understood at the time was that this would be the last album until a return some seven years later with 2017's 'Emerger'. Edelönn, Fandén and Perkovic were all still involved alongside the duo of Flinck and Westholm, but there had been a musical shift between this album and the previous ones. There is now a bleakness, almost a desperation, while the music has also become heavier and more symphonic. There is definitely the feeling that the band has become much more of a quintet than just a duo, and while the orchestral feel from the earlier albums is still here, this is a band starting to move away from what they had been doing.

Between this album and the previous one, Westholm had released a couple of albums under the name of Jupiter Society, which were musically very different to Carptree and there is no doubt that at this point this band were moving into a much rockier direction than they had previously. Carl was to become heavily involved in HM acts, including the mighty Candlemass, and although this could never be thought of as a heavy album, it is indeed a step change from what had happened before. Niclas has a voice that I have seen compared to Hogarth, but in fairness to both of them he is much more like Gabriel, and while he has always seemed at home in the gentler material, when given the opportunity to put himself more to the fore, as on the dynamically changing and challenging "Land of Plenty" he relishes the opportunity.

Of the four albums I have heard from Carptree this is definitely the most diverse in its approach, while also the most interesting. I may be behind the times, but I am so glad that this 2010 album has finally come my way.

Report this review (#1953073)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2018 | Review Permalink

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