Pymlico created a well-composed, genre-bending album where each track has a unique identity that makes its own point, all while feeling like one cohesive journey.
Pymlico is a noteworthy instrumental group from Oslo, Norway. Composer and drummer Arild Brøter formed the group in 2009 as a creative outlet, and over the next few years added six more members to complete the line-up that is Pymlico today. Their style of music is predominately progressive rock/fusion, and on top of the standard drums, bass, and guitar, includes heavy use of saxophone, flute, keys, synths, and multiple percussive instruments. In 2016, the band inked a deal with Apollon Records ahead of releasing their fourth studio album Meeting Places, which garnered them many positive reviews from fans and critics alike. Now, on October 5, they have unveiled their fifth studio album Nightscape. So,without further ado, let’s see how Pymlico‘s newest effort stacks up to the rest of their discography.
Nightscape quickly reins in the listener’s attention with its opening track, “Wide Awake.” A jazz sax riff and catchy twanging guitar lead the charge, before giving way to lightly distorted power chords that ring out alongside a rock piano movement. This track really does run the gamut during its five-minute runtime, including Bonobo-esque moments of swirling synthesizers and flutes, as well as more crunchy power chords that lay the groundwork for a classic soaring guitar solo.
Track two, “Gabagool”, is a single off of the album, and for good reason. This song is rooted deeply in a ‘jam band’ sound, complete with all of the necessary components, including (but not limited to) church organ, upstroked reggae chords, and an impressive percussive display. The main hook of the song is extremely catchy, and probably my favorite of the entire album, carrying with it a strong Rx Bandits vibe. Check out the video below to watch the band having fun recording this track in the studio!
The band had previously stated that they were aiming to expand their sound a bit with the writing of Nightscape:
‘…the songs on Nightscape have a more traditional, song-based structure, taking inspiration from some of the great pop music of the 20th century. Also adding more cinematic textures to the songs gives this release another dimension.’
This statement is most apparent on the tracks “Tofana 10am”, “Room With a View”, and “Road Movie”. These three contain strong elements of 90’s smooth jazz within the sax work, and have a very ‘grand’ atmosphere in their sound. In fact, Nightscape is a perfect name for the album, as it feels like a noir and Gatsby-esque soundtrack to nightlife and indulgence. Some standout moments of the above-mentioned tracks include: a catchy lead riff interplayed by guitar and sax – which is backed by rhythm and percussion that reminds me of Temper Trap – on “Tofana 10am, and the Pink Floyd-esque guitar leads paired with the choral vocal melodies sung throughout “Road Movie”.
Clocking in at almost eight-and-a-half minutes is the song “Ghost Notes”, which contains THE funkiest guitar and bass riffs I have heard all year. Alas, its lengthy journey has more in store for listeners when the time and tempo change back into noir saxophone territory, all before throwing in some pretty heavy, distorted bass riffs. Closing track “Silver Arrow” is another one of my favorite tracks on Nightscape, with its emotionally charged synth work and dance-y climax that helps put an exclamation point at the end of the listener’s journey.
Pymlico created a well composed, genre-bending album in Nightscape, one where each track has a unique identity that makes its own point, all while feeling like one cohesive journey. While I can’t necessarily say I was blown away, nor that is this one of those rare albums that redefines my outlook on music, there is no aspect about this record – be it composition, production, creativity, instrumental talent, etc. – that I have any complaints about whatsoever. Fans of any sort of fusion-infused progressive rock should definitely check out Nightscape and the rest of Pymlico‘s impressive discography.