[sic] Magazine

Erland & The Carnival – Nightingale

What happens to the carnival when the lights go out? It’s a question Orkney native Erland Cooper and his London-centric, folk-rock entourage try to answer here.

Nightingale , though darker, and perhaps more direct that the debut, is all the same a clear relation thereof. The band’s injection of much-needed weird – crucial to credibility – as well as an appreciation for Nuggets-era 60s psyche remain. And, with seasoned ragamuffins Simon Tong – formerly multi-instrumentalist with The Verve , Gorillaz and The Good, The Bad & The Queen – and Paul McCartney ‘s go-to drummer David Nock both still in tow, they again manage to steer clear of laughably inoffensive waters, such as those inhabited by Mumford & Sons , The Leisure Society , and, to a certain extent, kindred spirits Mystery Jets .

Known for reworking traditional folk in a contemporary style, which musically translated as more organ, and socially as the substitution of age-old drama with current-day parallels, Cooper and his cohorts’ formula previously provided Erland & The Carnival with varied levels of success. Thankfully, it was always the band’s willingness to push the envelope on their original, thoughtful and sometime sinister material that truly caught the ear however.

With that in mind, not much has changed barely a year later on, except that Nightingale was recorded in the hull of the HMS President on the Thames, which does add a hushed creak, echo and chatter to the running order. Accordingly, “East & West” is fairly faithful folk, full of plucked progressions and minstrel-like musing. Equally, “Dream Of The Rood” comes weighted with history, weary from having been dredged through the centuries and thrust into the now. On the other hand, “Emmeline” creeps along like a windblown, shanty-cum-haunted-house-on-the-prairie, fairground-attraction soundtrack. Understandably, it’s therefore pretty essential.

More linear are parts of “This Night”, Cooper’s croon and the track’s stylised herky-jerk all a little Franz Ferdinand . Whereas, the title track shimmers and fizzes like some form of pastoral post-rock, and, in comparison, “So Tired In The Morning” is relatively beefy, organic in its message but bolstered with warm organ fuzz, embracing drums and swelling, skittish guitar. Also of note, “Map Of An Englishman” pops with intelligent hooks not unlike those employed by similarly-monikered Emanuel & The Fear on their pop-opera of an album Listen .

Just as those that have been aboard the President will no doubt have drunken in varying cultures and influences far and wide in their travels, so too does Nightingale, idling in few, bathing in some and down-right revelling in others.

Advised downloads: “Map Of An Englishman” and “Emmeline”.

~Nightingale is out now on Full Time Hobby .~