Erland and the Carnival - Closing Time on the Moon

This is another album I have been looking forward to after discovering their last two albums this year thanks to the band being featured in a Ben P Smith RW/FF post on God Is In the TV back in July. The band members include non other than Simon Tong of The Verve, Blur, The Good the Band and the Queen, and Gorillaz fame as well as drummer/engineer David Nock who worked on Paul Weller's brilliant Wake Up the Nation LP and with Paul McCartney on his last Fireman LP with Youth, which I think is the most interesting music he has produced since his Beatle days.

On Wikipedia they are described as "progressive folk rock" and this is probably because lead singer Gawain Erland Cooper was born and raised in Orkney and "spent years studying Bert Jansch and Davey Graham, sourcing old British songs from the Vaughan Williams Museum near where he grew up, and developing his writing skills." Their debut album did contain a number of re-constructed traditional songs, but also many great original songs and the overall sound was more progressive pop/rock than folk.

Mr Cooper had obviously taken his time to learn his trade though and he has also managed to recruit two very experienced and inventive band members to then help present his work brilliantly. this was fully realised on their second album Nightingale from 2011, that to me is like the best parts of the Divine Comedy and Franz Ferdinand combined. In 2012 Mr Tong and Cooper released Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North in a collaboration with singer, composer and orchestral arranger Hannah Peel under the name of The Magnetic North  which is more subdued than Nightingale but a is a gorgeous record which to again brings to mind The Divine Comedy but this time in collaboration with Goldfrapp, and both at their more serious and laid back modes.

And now we have the the new Erland and the Carnival album and it is somewhere in-between Nightingale and The Magnetic North. It is just 10 tracks and maybe not quite as great as Nightingale but it has some gorgeous quieter moments. It is more like The Divine Comedy than Franz Ferdinand and again it reminds me of Neil Hannon's more reflective and serious work.


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