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ON LAND AND IN THE SEA

Cardiacs

RIO/Avant-Prog


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benchmarrow@h
4 stars this is an amazing album, when i first hard it i couldn't quite believe my ears, but the mish mash of sounds that is cardiacs works superbly well on this album. from start to finish it is a rollercoaster of fun. they are an unusual band with real charm and if you want a refreshing change, this is it. my personal fave is the duck and rogerthe horse- classic!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#33724)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars My first taste of the Cardiacs, so I have no idea if this album is really representative of their style, but my guess is yes. I had always thought of The Cardiacs as a punkish group that was a cross of The Jam and The Clash and had sort of of left it at that, since at first glance, this group brought nothing new to what had been said in the late 70's.

So I picked up this album at the library, and I was rather taken aback with surprise and a sort of awe. I did remember correctly the sound of the band (see the groups mentionned in the previous paragraph), but the structure of the songs were rather much more complicated than those very groups. Actually, Cardiacs are probably closer to The Stranglers's best and most progressive works (and if Cardiacs arein... then Stranglers might as well be) and sometimes approaching The Resident's rockier (and saner) moments (ie: Third Reich And Roll).

However impressive the music structures may be, I am not sure they serve much purpose for the songs themselves. Yes, the work is impressive, but it seems a bit lost on the unwarned (and non-worrying) listener that probably does not expect (or want or even search ) for these complex arrangements. Somehow with the exhuberant and overpowering nature of the music, there is something rather awkward about Cardiacs' rather useless (IMHO) complex time sigs and other prog trademark. The overall feeling on such an album might just sound like The Jam or Stranglers stepping all over Miriodor or X- Legged Sally (sometimes, though)

Still much worth discovering, if not to love and cherish, just to know that such a music cross-overis possible, (prungk anybody? ;-),but I would definitely not classify the Cardiacs as RIO/Avant-prog, though.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#83980)
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars OK, there's this song. 'The Duck and Roger the Horse' it's called. (Roger the horse, hee hee, naughty scamps, these CARDIACS.) I can't describe it; you simply have to hear it. Well, maybe I can describe it. I'll use lots of words like 'chaos' and 'insanity'. There's this series of noises to start it off, then lyrics shouted so fast I can't make them out, but which apparently go 'Duck tells me I must look a treat/I look my best so I tell him/Scrub me head and feet, make me nice and neat/I'm a different man so they say/Ha ha ha ha.' Good-oh. Chaotic staccato stabs in ridiculous time signatures lead eventually into this short proggy section. And I do mean proggy. There's frenetic, raging metal moments, insane thousand-words-a-minute vocals, complete halts, amazing syncopated keyboards, drums and vocals all mixed together, incredibly tight musicianship - anything and everything, a full album's worth of creativity - and, best of all, it all makes glorious sense and is a fabulous fun-filled song. And it's not even four minutes long.

This is the sort of thing SYD BARRETT might have done had he been able to keep working: this album certainly has more than a whiff of psychedelica about it. It also has the same BARRETT wry humour, and the same deliberately naive songwriting style, borrowing from childish rhymes and simple tunes, splicing everything together in a complex fashion. What marks this album out from anything that came before it in CARDIACS' discography is the consistently high standard of composition. There's nothing less than completely compelling until one reaches 'Horsehead', the short seventh track, but there is no real weakness on this album. Everything challenges, everything entertains.

This is essential. It's punky, it's proggy, it's energetic, it's fun. They make you fall in love with them. And these songs sound even better live: check out the 'Maresnest' vids on YouTube and see what I'm talking about. If this lot don't move your feet, you ain't got feet.

And get well, Tim.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#177057)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've been listening non-stop to Cardiacs ever since I got my hands on A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window and so the next logical step was this album. It may not have the same high quality/minute ratio but that, by no means, should make this album less of a masterpiece that it really is!

The opener Two Bites Of Cherry is, in my opinion, the crown jewel of Cardiacs discography that should not be missed out on. This short three minute tune incorporates a strong melody, memorable interplay between the instruments and you just have to love the transitions between the different parts of the song!

Although On Land And In The Sea falls slightly short in comparison to A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window and Sing To God it's still as good album as any to begin your Cardiacs collection. An excellent album from beginning to the very end.

***** star songs: Two Bites Of Cherry (3:19) Baby Heart Dirt (3:32) The Leader Of The Starry Skys (3:52) The Duck And Roger The Horse (3:56)

**** star songs: I Hold My Love In My Arms (1:10) Arnald (2:49) Horse Head (1:20) Fast Robert (3:59) Mare's Nest (4:15) The Stench Of Honey (3:33) Buds And Spawn (6:46) The Safety Bowl (1:45) The Everso Closely Guarded Line (8:23)

Total rating: 4,30

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#254331)
Posted Saturday, December 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
frippism
COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Any of my thousands of fans who read my review of "Sing To God", know that I absolutely love this band. While "Sing To God" brings some of the more punkish elements Cardiacs have had to the forefront, "On Land And In The Sea" while punkish, is much more psychedelic. OLAITS is also probably the best Cardiacs album from the classic 84-90 period, providing some very fun insanity, while also showing some moments of sincere beauty, and most importantly, it's progressive!

The songs here are all excellent. Not one bad one. BUT of course some are great and some are even the best Cardiacs might have to offer. "Two Bites Of Cherry" opens this album more than nicely, being one of my favorites from this album. "The Ever So Closely Guarded Line" is an incredible finish, but the middle is incredible. "The Duck And Roger The Horse" is quite possibly the best thing ever made. The song is probably the best Cardiacs song and the best song of the albums. Though what comes after it is almost as good! "Arnald" is one very fun track, which leads to the "Horsehead"-"Fast Robert"-"Mare's Nest" trio. Now this is something very very special. "Horsehead" has some truly beautiful loop pedal effects, "Fast Robert" is hilarious and "in your face" and stunningly beautiful at the same time. "Mare's Nest" has some of the more beautiful Cardiacs songs. "The Stench Of Honey" has some very nice bass playing, and "Buds And Spawn" is stunning and headbanging at the same time. All songs here are masterpieces, and there is absolutely no filler.

The musicianship here is of course wonderful. Sarah Smith's sax has some very powerful parts. On this album she is probably her craziest. William D. Drake is at his keyboard best, and I mean that. His stuff here is probably the quirkiest and most asymmetrical from his whole Cardiacs stint. Tim Smith's vocals are wonderful as usual, and his guitar playing is as great as always, playing power chords when needed and playing some incredible lines when needed. Dominic Luckman's drumming is pretty ordinary punk drumming, which just really adds to Cardiacs' original sound. His drumming is probably what gives Cardiacs the punky feeling, which I love.

I love Cardiacs that it hurts, and listening to this album every time brings a huge smile to my face. This is as good as "Sing To God" and is probably up their in the list of my favorite albums. Anyone should get this and everyone should enjoy this, and I'm not being pushy or anything but I'm pushy and everything so you better like this.

Bassist Critique: Jim! Jim! Jim! Jim! Jim! Jim Smith provides his second best bass playing (his best is in "Sing To God", where it's some of the best bass I've heard ever). His lines are melodic and punky at the same time, which also makes him one of the more unique bass players I've heard. Bass players beware, Jim's stuff can be mad hard to play, and it sounds amazing.

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Send comments to frippism (BETA) | Report this review (#315701)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Punk had its birth as a reaction to the megalomaniac attitude of the prog dinosaurs , everybody knows. So the late 70s saw a number of unskilled people playing a sort of rock&roll revival. Then somebody able to play tried to hide its skill by playing "punky". I mean bands like the Clash for example. But punk hadn't a long life. Soon somebody added some goodies to the punk and we had "new wave" artists like Lene Lovich and most of all the DEVO who had an old prog fart like Brian Eno behind the production.

This is where I think Cardiacs are from. Their music has its root in punk, but they have inherited the weirdness of DEVO and of course have added their own ears to obtain something that even with deeply British roots is still unique today.

One song for all: "The Leader Of The Starry Skies" has everything you need. Unusual signature, punk base and lyrics, a connection even with the ska and that crazy feeling which makes them so tasteful to me. I have actually loved bands like the DEVO and I honestly think that the Cardiacs are their "Evolution". I know that this sentence can seem a joke: evolution of devoluted.

Of course there are exceptions which make this band representative of the prog avant- garde. "The Duck and Roger the Horse" is an example. The sequence of chords and the changes in the signature are incredibly complicated. The sax played by Sarah Smith adds a further touch of jazzy crazyness, but apart when the drums are totally punk, we can hear much more. An epic condensed in less than 4 minutes.

A song like "Fast Robert" has a double face: from the musical side it's very complex, full of chords unusually jointed and at the same time has lyrics full of alliterations based on the sound of the words for than on the meanings. I have read Syd Barrett mentioned in one of the reviews of this album. This is a song in which I thing Barrett's influence can be seen. Luckily Cardiacs arrived at the end of the 80s and have had the possibility to avoid the worst of the decade.

As its predecessors this album is crazy. The songs is like they are sung by a happy fool even in the darkest moments. I think it's the insanity that makes this album so good. The weird smiles on the album's cover tell it clearly: this is a world of musicall madness. It's not allucinated like the world of Syd Barrett and it's everything but dark.

Of course a song like "Buds And Span" can't easily find a subgenre in which being inserted. The very good thing is that the quality of all the songs is excellent and the refrains (when there are refrains) are all great in terms of compositions. An excellent addition not to be missed from anybody's collection. Probably a lot of people will find them hard to digest like it often happens with RIO and Avant. Despite of that everybody with a bit of curiosity can proudly show this album in his collection.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#822442)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 | Review Permalink

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