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THE SEA NYMPHS

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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The Sea Nymphs biography
The Sea Nymphs are Tim, Sarah and William D. Drake - they followed their rather delicately special cassette only album Mr & Mrs Smith and Mrs Drake with a beautifully warm album called Tree Tops High (sometimes it's just known as The Sea Nymphs). The Sea Nymphs six track EP on Org consisted of tracks from those first two albums (both which originally came out on Cardiacs own label Alphabet), the lead track on the ORG EP picked up a lot of airplay around the world and resulted in them being invited to record a session for John Peel - the reviews were very positive, comparisons with bands like Belle&Sebastian, Mogwai and Ultrasound (none of those bands have been around as long as the rather low key Sea Nymphs). The single also became a single of the week on daytime Radio One. There is a new Sea Nymphs album recorded, it should be out on Tim Smith's new label ALL MY EYE at some point.

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THE SEA NYMPHS discography


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3.83 | 6 ratings
The Sea Nymphs
1992

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THE SEA NYMPHS Reviews


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 The Sea Nymphs by SEA NYMPHS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.83 | 6 ratings

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The Sea Nymphs
The Sea Nymphs Crossover Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Hard to believe this is the same core group of musicians who made up the Cardiacs. This stuff is as artsy and appealingly simple as anything that band did, but at the same time there is a beauty and peacefulness to these short tracks that was certainly not a characteristic of most of the Cardiacs' music.

The most striking thing about these songs is the absence of drums or really any percussion for the most part, nearly all the instrumental parts being provided by a couple of synthesizer keyboards along with a smattering of guitar from time to time. The stilted organ is overpowering at times, giving songs like 'Up in Annie's Room', 'Appealing to Venus' and 'Christ Alive' a heavy and brooding feel when laid atop Sarah Smith's somber vocals. Yet at other times the sound is more like a throwback to simpler times with acoustic-sounding synth woodwinds and minstrelly vocals delivered by the Smiths in unison with backing by Will D. Drake ('Dog Eat Spine', 'Mr. Drake's Big Heart Reprise', 'Nil in the Nest').

And still elsewhere Ms. Smith delivers her own form of vocals in theatrical form, almost vaudevillian at times and especially with the weirdly titled 'A Thousand Strokes and a Rolling Suck' and 'Tree Tops High'.

I'm not exactly sure what to make of this record. I don't really think it's a progressive music album per se, but it certainly is eclectic enough to avoid being classified as commercial or pop in any way whatsoever.

For fans of the Cardiacs I'm sure this is a conversation piece sort of like the Knitters albums were for X fans. Beyond that I'm not sure I'd recommend it for general consumption although I am quite intrigued by what seems to be a strong sense of purpose on the part of all three players. I'm just not sure what the purpose was, and the 'band', as it were, decided not to let most of us casual observers in on the story so we're left to scratch our heads and slide this one back into the stack. Three stars just because it piques my curiosity and is kind of fund to listen to.

peace

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 The Sea Nymphs by SEA NYMPHS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.83 | 6 ratings

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The Sea Nymphs
The Sea Nymphs Crossover Prog

Review by Dobermensch

5 stars I'm so pleased to see this wonderful album added to the archives at last! Imagine the 'Cardiacs' but far more beautiful and atmospheric. Gone are the guitars, shouty vocals and manic tempo shifts.

William Drake takes centre stage with his superbly watery and sometimes reverbed piano and synths adding a rather folky and aquatic sound to the overall feel of 'The Sea Nymphs'.

Next to 'Sing to God' I think this is the best 'Cardiacs' album available. (Don't let the name fool you... The Sea Nymphs are basically the 'Cardiacs' under a different moniker).

Unfortunately you'll have a real hard time getting hold of this recording now. I bought mine in 1993 and have never seen another copy since...

Sometimes melancholic, occasionally beautiful but mostly dreamy (in a non cheesy way), and always engaging. I love his album to bits. I can understand why it didn't fall under the 'Cardiacs' umbrella - as it's very different in sound and feeling to their recordings, but in my opinion is every bit as good as their best releases. Tim Smith shows a side to his singing that I've not heard before or since. A voice that could, believe it or not, do beautiful things.

An exquisite little strange album that defies categorisation.

One of the prettiest, smoothest flowing recordings I've ever heard... LONG LIVE TIM!

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 The Sea Nymphs by SEA NYMPHS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.83 | 6 ratings

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The Sea Nymphs
The Sea Nymphs Crossover Prog

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars 4.5 quite frankly

It is a great pleasure for me to see the Sea Nymphs on the Archives. A rather strange and intriguing project, the Sea Nymphs consist of three past and present Cardiacs members: Cardiacs leader Tim Smith, former Cardiacs sax player Sarah Smith (formerly Tim's wife, now known as Sarah Cutts), and former Cardiacs keyboard genius William D. Drake. The album itself is a strange monster. A wonderful floating creature coming to bless your heart with a dose of beautiful and touching melodies which are very Cardiacs, but the sound is completely different. Gone is the punky headbanging of Cardiacs epicness, and more prominent the folky and very Anglo-Saxon sound (it just sounds English, you know what I mean). And so you here also find something for someone who really can't stand the insane barrage of sound Cardiacs but is intrigued by the beautiful melodies hidden in between (like me own papa for example).

The album is comprised by a bunch of random recordings done by our lovely folks, but it slides from song to song in rather dashing way. The very atmospheric and rather unsettling aura is kept throughout the whole albums and is the mood is very cloudy and and winter- ish. You feel like they played this in a forest in a random October morning.

Highlights: The folky pan flute fun of Nil in the Nest, Lucky Lucy and its shimmering keyboards, The mesmerizing and sobering Up In Annie's room, which feature Tim Smith's greatest lyrics in my honest opinion, the truly wonderful and mind blowingly beautiful The Psalms Of Life, the glorious piano fun Of Dog Eat Spine, the chilling instrumental Sarah On A Worm, Lily White's Party and its glorious sing along fun, and the mystic, emotional joy of Abade, beautifully sung by Sarah Smith.

The sound is mainly focused on eerie keyboard effects and beautiful vocals, without really any percussion or drums except for Abade. The songs tend to be rather simple in a technical sense but Tim Smith being the master mixer and producer he is manages to bring the complex arrangements to the forefront and deliver a immersing experience. William D. Drake's piano lines are always such a treat to hear that every time I hear Dog Eat Spine I get a huge smile on my face!

For every fan of Cardiacs should without a doubt hear this album. Unfortunately at the moment it is almost impossible to get any physical copy, or a digital copy! I hope for people that Alphabet Business Concern picks up again after Tim gets better, so people will be able to get their hands on it. For now if you manage to get a copy consider yourself lucky! And hang on to it! Not only is it quite the rare album, but the music is also rather excellent.

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