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Cardiacs - A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window CD (album) cover





4.29 | 304 ratings

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5 stars (10/10)

The studied art of insanity in music form. I'm talking of course about the mad mad world of the Cardiacs. Out of their two indisputable masterpieces (the other being 'Sing To God') this one is actually the more accessible. However, beware, that's all a matter of relativity, and this is probably one of the most bizarrely wonderful albums I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.

Each song is basically the audio equivalent of the TARDIS - bigger on the inside. Usually there are an insane number of fantastical ideas all crammed into about 4 minutes, in a way that feels appealing and driving, but never crowded in a bad way. Sort of like the more bombastic songs of Gentle Giant, although the music is very different.

The saxophone is especially cool and adds colour to the music. What is most exciting is the way they can pull of the stop start nature of some of the section, with complex time signatures, dramatic shifts and contrasts, and sharp turns more often than not all in the same song. And yet once you see it all somehow it all flows beautifully like a 4-dimensional river!

R.E.S. Especially has so many changes in a minute. Sounds much improved over the original version. There are a few other re-recorded songs that have all been improved as well that Cardiacs fans will notice. Sometimes the band repeats a mad synchronised section a second time just to show it isnt random!

Tim smith's vocals are brilliant and unique, sometimes infused with panic/fear, other times unbridled mania, other times plaintiff and full of thought. Sometimes he just sounds like a mischievous child, gotta love him. By now I'm sure we can all agree, one of the all time greats. Often bizarre lyrics to go with the music that adds to this effect.

A friend of mine, upon first listen to the Cardiacs described it as 'like being assaulted, in a good way', and that's probably how you will feel upon first listen. After a few listens you begin to get to know the songs, and enjoy them in a different way.

I see very few people being indifferent to the cardiacs. This sort of music demands strong opinions, and for those who get it, it becomes quite special. For me personally, the Cardiacs are about as unique as a prog band comes, so if this grand madness sounds at all like the sort of thing you'd be interested in, if you consider yourself a jolly odd creature, if you have an off kilter sense of humour, then definitely give it a try. It'll probably blow you away.

But for something this unique the true mistake would be to never roll the dice. Even if you hate it you might learn something about yourself!

R.I.P. Tim Smith : 'I have desired to go / Where springs not fail / To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail / And a few lilies blow.'

ScorchedFirth | 5/5 |


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