Erland & The Carnival - Nightingale (Full Time Hobby)

With little over a year since their debut release, the relentless love and effort that has been poured in to this latest record is bursting at the seams. It is a twisting, elemental string of past and present, spun into one almighty vivid audio cloud, rather like candy-floss found within the fabled Carnival.

Released Mar 21st, 2011 via Full Time Hobby / By Clementine Lloyd
Erland & The Carnival - Nightingale (Full Time Hobby) Streaming an 80’s ensemble within ‘Map Of An English Man’, the poppy beat and debonair delivery is peppered with fleeting spaces of speckle-eyed synth which pulsates and twists, before dropping back into the infectious fray. It is this and ‘I’m Not Really Here’ that capture the iridescent and volatile nature of the beast, funk flows mingling with Erland’s haunting sway in lyrics “Nobody knows of the trouble I’ve seen”. Crooning his way into your heart and soul, these moments fade as the brittle cries of ‘I Wish I Wish’, the electro-clash relentlessly colliding with flatter vocals and resounding bounds of the treble.

Darker times are on their way no doubt, as ‘Emmeline’ sets up a spacious depth within, filling it with a cantering rhythm expertly paced through the Drum-stylings of David Knock. In a Burton-esque world of pretty uncertainty, faltering only to find pace again in a way that is both charming and unnerving, filling your head with a crescendo of riffs and creaks to send you right over the edge. ‘We All Die’ breaks down the true beat/bar structure you expect, fraught as it is with dwindling keys, before slamming you with a metallic sprung riff, jarring the soul. The snare is tapped like with machine gun fire, before sweeping aggressive notes away in a flurry of gull-calls, only to replace rough audio assaults with a gentle drum loop and a chorus of soft voices.

Title track ‘Nightingale’, with all its promise of sweetness in reference to the beautiful bird, shoots you down in seconds as the hard synth chords reign, before defying you once more. Repining to deeper, gentle vocals and percolating loops felt through the bass notes and kick-drum. It is ‘East And West’ which truly breaks through the sum of seduction and paranoia. Lilting guitars picked eloquently create a stellar frame from which hangs Erland’s softest delivery. The depth of feeling reaches further into the past than The Carnival have ever gone, localising elements of those mandolin toting entertainers from the courts of kings. Knights and knaves spring to mind.

‘Nothing Can Remain’ propagates this calm, a moment of clarity in the suffocating energy of the record. Elemental separation of its stems keeps the sound clean, as whistles from an unknown source and stressed timbres of the outro give a nostalgic sense of a much played cassette. An homage to the beautiful history of music, at times you can even hear deep, throaty strains of Lou Reed peeking out amongst the lyrics of ‘Dream Of Rood’, acting as spirit guide to Erland. Romantic to the last!

Nightingale seems to have been cultivated to be viewed as a whole. The record as a map of a beautiful beast stuns you with tracks like ‘The Night’, encompassing tampered ringing sounds and brittle beats, whilst enticing you with pockets of breathing space in moments like ‘East And West’. Recording its entirety within the hull of a boat has enhanced the atmosphere, planting those feelings of cabin fever deep within the roots, enabling those spacious moments to harness more elation. It both constricts and creates space, which is one heck of a feat of engineering.