29 August 2012

Jonas Carping - All The Time In The World

Album Review: Jonas Carping - All The Time In The World (self released)

I like Sweden a lot. So much so that myself and the family are considering taking a trip there next year. The Wannadies and The Hives, Let The Right One In, Inspector Wallander, Henrik Larsson and a penchant for beating England (until the Summer) have cemented the country in my mind as a place of good things. Now, since I got drafted in to help with this site, I've had a lot of emails asking for reviews. One such email was from Jonas Carping. A son of Sweden. I like Sweden, as I've said, so decided I wanted to have a listen and well, what follows is the result of that curiosity borne of a love of Kurt Wallander's homeland.

In the email, Jonas described his music as folk/acoustic. Two words that don't send me running when it comes to music. (I do like more than post-punk/garage). So, I downloaded the album and fired up the old iPod. Well, wow! 20 seconds of opener 'Left In Here' was all it took to hook me. A nice, easy rhythm and a vice so rich and resonant it was staggering. The strings added character behind that repeating acoustic guitar, lovely bass and steady drum. Add some backing vocals, harmonising effortlessly, from Sigrid Nilsson and my jaw was on the floor. It's absolutely stunning. There's literally a lump in my throat when he sings "I could've been someone too, you know?". 'Underground' has a more sombre tone initially, but really picks up on the chorus, although the vocal remains low key. The cello maintains the mood, while the violin lightens it. Again the backing vocals, while subtle, are beautiful. It's a richly textured track with a varied landscape that lets you hear something different each time you listen. At this point, I'm thinking I may need the security of a box of man-sized tissues. This is strong stuff, reaching me in a way that I didn't expect. 'Anything' is another slower, gentler song. There's a sparkling guitar line, repeating notes that brighten the gloom. The strings tug at your emotions again, while Jonas' voice acts as your guide. Everything is delicately done, but feels so right. As with the previous two songs, this is a beautifully crafted song.

'The Sting' (the second single from the album, after 'Underground' which came out as an EP in June) comes in with a nice bass and subtle drums, with vocal over the top. Jonas Carping is joined on vocals by Sigrid Nilsson and the pair sound fantastic together. The violin is back and sounded really good, while the rhythm section keep the song moving forward. There are lots of nice little flourishes and touches all over the song and it certainly tugs at the heartstrings. The music literally washes over you in waves of emotion. It's really rather good. 'Serenade' is a more low key affair. Initially just vocals and acoustic guitar, Sofie Dahlin adds violin that changes the landscape of the song in just few notes. It's evidence of the power music can have. Two instruments and one voice packing so much emotion into three minutes is quite something. There's a fuller sound on 'Rulers'. The beat is steady and thumping, while the cello weaves back and forth over the vocal. The guitar picks up, giving the song a fuller sound, and Sigrid Nilsson on backing vocals give the song more of a sparkle, while Jonas Carping and the cello almost simultaneously cast a darker shadow. It's a nice contrast.

'The One' kicks off with a slow and steady pace. The cadence of the vocals is pitched really well and sits nicely with the rhythm. When the snare drum comes in, it gives the beat a crisp edge and you can feel this building into something special. Ms. Nilsson adds a subtle backing vocal that packs a mighty punch for a voice so delicate. The guitar underneath adds depth and there are little flourishes all across this brilliant track. The guitar literally shimmers at times. Just when you think it can't get better it does. The vocals lift higher and the music builds to the finale. 'One More Song' has the unenviable task of following next in the order. A simple acoustic opens the song, with a good vocal. The tempo is steady and sure throughout and about 90 seconds in the guitar starts to gain in intensity and builds, growing slowly before it drops off into the picked notes of the intro. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record now, but the backing vocals work really well again. There's also a really good electric guitar building in the background, giving the song a new texture that works well with the acoustic and vocals as the song concludes. Penultimate track 'Sideways' kicks off with a warm acoustic and good bass drum. The bass guitar signals a fuller sound and the tempo is nice and upbeat, but steady. The violin sounds brighter and sits well with the acoustic and steel guitar (I think it's a steel guitar). Regardless, it's an uplifting track all the same. Sadly, 'Leaving Now' is the prophetically titled final song. It opens with a fairly positive feeling. Percussion sounds nice and crisp (djembe drums don't you know). The guitars jangle alongside and it feels like Jonas Carping is going out on a positive high note. It definitely has a good feeling about it and those drums drive it forward, infecting you with the high tempo. 

Suffice to say that I loved this album. I do like a little bit of folk in my musical library and this is a great example. That I was nearly a crying, emotional wreck about three songs in is a testament to the power of this music and it's ability to completely draw you in. From Jonas Carping's strong, resonant voice, to the cello and violin, the backing vocals of Sigrid Nilsson, to the bass, the drums and every aspect that went into this album it's just excellent. I've played it start to finish about a dozen times already. This is one of the best albums I've heard all year and it will remain high on my playlist for a long time to come. Do yourself a favour, if folk is your bag then get on this as soon as it comes out. You won't regret it.

You can pre-order the album direct from Jonas Carping at his website. All The Time In The World will be released on 24th September. The second single, 'The Sting' will be released on 4th September.


  1. Lars JA Nilsson29/8/12

    I'm one of few that have a pre-released copy of this fantastic album, and even if I'm partial -being the father of Sigrid Nilsson- and have plyaed aucostic folkmusic since the sixties I must say that this album takes the whole thing to a new and higher level. Love it...

  2. Great review of a fabulous album - I can't stop playing it, I just love it!