Carptree is a Swedish duo made of Carl Westholm (keyboards, piano) and Niclas Flinck (vocals). Niclas and Carl first played together in a local symphonic rock band for a couple of years, so they have a long history together. As Carptree they have been working since 1997. The duo is almost always accompanied by the No Future Orchestra (NFO), a group of people from known and unknown Swedish acts. According to Carptree they more or less add their personal touch to the questions of what, when and who. On Nymf, NFO consist of guitarist Ulf Edelönn, who played on every album Carptree made, bass player Stefan Fanden and drummer Jejo Perkovic, who both played with Carptree since the Superhero-album (2003). Background vocalists Cia Backman and Oivin Stronstad complete the line-up for this album. Nymf is a sequel to its predecessor Insekt; it's the shortest album Carptree made to date.
The band has a perfect start with the opening tune Kicking And Collecting. This song is powerful and dark while Niclas' vocals have an emotional undertone. Together with the background vocals a fantastic bombastic sound is created. Land Of Plenty has an atmospheric intro with pleasant, sometimes Fish-like vocals and an orchestral middle-section. The last part of the song gets heavier with a dark sounding guitar on top of the extensive keyboard sounds, taking this wonderful song to a powerful end. The first two songs of the album have a dark and atmospheric sound indeed, but The Weight Of The Knowledge takes you down to even darker regions of Carptree's music. It's a bit slower and a talking voice provides for that extra dark atmosphere. The great guitar lines and again a very powerful keyboard solo together with the accessible vocals, make this piece one of my personal favourites of this album. As a statement for progressive rock and as a perfect representative for this album Dragonfly, the longest song of the album takes you in almost eight and a half minute to a fantasy land. The remarkable keyboards and the always impressive vocals show that these two musicians are able to create adventurous, stunning, bombastic and powerful music that still remains emotional and virtuoso.
Listening to the first notes of Between Extremes Prelude, I was thinking something was wrong, but this short orchestral piece sounds like it ascends from a deep cave rising up to the bright sunlight. This result in Sunrays more influenced by - or perhaps more suitable as - a soundtrack for a movie: light and clear vocals, multi-layered keyboards and a nice and relaxed piano with an occasional and slight hint of The Beatles. This is one of the brighter, but also one of the lightest songs. Sadly, The Water is the final song of this fine album. It opens acoustically, but returns to the darker parts of Dragonfly later on. Here Carl Westholm proves that the invitations he got from other progressive artists to play on their albums isn't accidental for he's a very talented musician. Together with the impressive background vocals Niclas gets a last chance to please us with his sensitive and powerful vocals.
After almost forty-five minutes the dream is over, so I pushed the repeat button again since this dream was a pleasant one and I don't want to wake up. Nymf is a great album from this Swedish duo that takes the music to a higher level with every album they make. This is a new statement in progressive rock.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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