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Cardiacs - Sing To God CD (album) cover





4.31 | 222 ratings

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4 stars Part pub knees-up, part wickedly complex progressive music, part in-yer-face punk chutzpah, the CARDIACS' 'Sing to God' is unfailingly excellent and in places astonishing.

The supposed inventors and sole members of the genre 'pronk' (prog punk), the CARDIACS sound like you'd expect: a mash-up of brazenness and sophistication. But don't be deceived. Behind the punky singing and out-there music lies a band with a meticulous ear for complexity. Some of the music on this album defies description: 'Eat It Up Worms Hero' is akin to a smash-and-grab raid in which the object stolen is your brain, so bizarre is the sound. 'Angleworm Angel' is a riot. 'Dog Like Sparky' will haunt me for ages, and 'Fiery Gun Hand' is plain creepy. 'Dirty Boy' is so far beyond brilliant it deserves entirely new adjectives. How on earth did they make sounds like that? Can I listen to it again?

This band is clearly sited in the experimental side of modern prog: there are few references to the classic prog sound of the 70s on 'Sing to God'. Instead, this album demonstrates how the SPIRIT of progressiveness can infuse any genre and make it an adventure. It will more than satisfy anyone looking for something different, anyone who wants a new taste to wake up a jaded palette.

I don't think it's quite a masterpiece, however. First, it needn't have been a double CD: with a little trimming of some of the less interesting tracks, this could have been a killer disc. I don't have any objection to extra material, but the quality here is uneven. 'A Horse's Tale' and 'Red Fire Coming Out Of His Gills' aren't really up to it. Second, I miss the cheekiness of their earlier stuff, the blart of Sarah Smith's saxophone, the tossing-off of outrageously complex material without a moment's thought. Here it sometimes seems a little too knowing, a little too clever. And I can't help feeling that with age has come a slight diminution of their incredible energy. Tim's Smith's voice seems to have receded along with his hairline. Nevertheless, I wish more bands were like the CARDIACS.

This is dangerous territory: venture into the CARDIACS' world at your peril. Don't blame me if you become addicted.

russellk | 4/5 |


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