Take extra care with all the precious stuff we try to handle with our special care….
Really must get some words down today, it landed earlier, and of course it is a glorious thing of beauty, of course it is, you knew that already. You knew a new Sea Nymphs album could be nothing less that gloriously beautiful, wonderfully so, delicately beautiful, special, a treasure, special stuff to handle with extra care..
Sea Nymphs, On Dry Land, a first listen to the first “new” music to emerge from Cardiacs family since that Ditzy Scene single back in late 2007
The legendary second Sea Nymphs album, apparently mostly recorded back there alongside the first somewhere at the beginning of the 90’s, songs unheard save for that John Peel session back in 1998, unheard until today, until this glorious morning. Rather hard to write about this actually, these fifteen tracks, these fifteen things of delicate beauty – some full bodied, some almost fractured, delicate and warm, glowing. And birds flying inland and you knew it would be good, we knew that but we kind of expected pretty much more of the same. Mostly recorded at the same time as the first album, we kind of expected part two and to some extent that is what this is, yet somehow it feels like much much more. Maybe that is down to circumstance? We’ve had nothing “new” for so so long now, since Tim Smith’s unfortunate illness, but this feels like much more than just part two. .
On Dry Land is something very pure, something very natural, two wonderful composers, Tim Smith, William D Drake both at the height of their freedom, almost lost in another world, and Sarah Smith sprinkling her dusty sunlight and magic on it all . Some of it very Tim indeed, some of it more like the world William D. Drake inhabits now, some of scuttling like insects (or mice), some of it hissing and fizzling like busting seeds in the warm morning light, all of it wonderful. Some of it as expected, and to the delight of these ears (ears lost in all the beauty it all all day), some of it really not so expected. Some of it like Summer a coming in and parades and wooden horses and fish on wheels and some of it Vaughn Williams bright fresh and light and green – all of it glorious.
The Black Blooded Clam, the Sea Ritual one glorious piece leading to the next, blowing in from everywhere, Liberated and Handsome…. Oh look, I could write reams, use up trees, talk of the colours and the shimmers and all the splendid glory, incredible sting driving things, the feather-lite warmth, magical dist and ethereal goodness of it all, this really is beautiful, this is very very special, this gloriously good and beyond expectation. Eating a Heart Out like the best painting you ever saw or the best sunrise you ever watched, like standing in the woods watching the sunlight reach the floor. I defy you to listen to it for a first time without a slightly moist eye, these are the special things, these things made with special care, oh look, I can’t really review this, it really is something very very special…. How very very lucky we are to have these wonderful people making this wonderful music for us. .(sw)
Sea Nymphs second album On Dry Land, is out on November 4th via The Consultant’s Memorabilia Collection and www.cardiacs.net
We’ll review On Dry Land ‘properly’ closer to the release date, this was a first listen, well the first listen was last week, we were waiting for the Alphabet announcement,. there have been many listens since and still as good as the first. The Other Rock Show returns to airwaves Resonance FM with Marina Organ on Sunday September 4th, 9pm.
The official press release
THE SEA NYMPHS: ON THE DRY LAND, CD AND VINYL ALPHCD032 / ALPHLP032
RELEASED FRIDAY 4TH NOVEMBER, 2016
Comprising of core members, Tim Smith, Sarah Smith and William D Drake, The Sea Nymphs were the elegiac and wondrous foil to their main band Cardiacs’ terrifying bombast. Otherworldly, dream-like and deliriously psychedelic, and dispensing with bludgeoning guitars and drums, The Sea Nymphs swam deep in the reedy waters of the unconscious. Their 1992 self-titled debut set sail where The Incredible String Band, at their most ambitious, and Ralph Vaughn Williams, at his most heavenly, left off.
Haunting, eerie and exploding with unusual colours, the beautiful compositions of preternaturally gifted Smith and Drake made this album indispensable, while charming many who found Cardiacs ‘a bit much’.
The second Sea Nymphs album, On The Dry Land, a fairly open secret among the legion of loyal fans, was largely completed at the same time as the debut and slated for release shortly afterwards but, for unforeseen reasons, never saw the light of day. Apart from three new songs played for a 1998 Peel session, the contents of this album remain largely unheard.
Following Tim Smith’s accident in 2008 and subsequent health issues ever since, no new material has been released since 2007. Smith, however, was able to return to his studio in 2015 to supervise the additional recording and painstaking process necessary to complete this lost masterpiece.
Every bit as audacious, original and mystifying as the debut, On The Dry Land is a testament to the meeting of minds of composers Smith and Drake. The ethereal presence of Sarah Smith seems to wrap everything in a feather-like weightlessness. The end result is nothing short of sublime.
Exclusively available from The Consultant’s Memorabilia Collection www.cardiacs.net
Oh, and the first album on vinyl for the first time