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Cardiacs - All That Glitters Is A Mares Nest  CD (album) cover




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5 stars Perfect flowing between the audience and the group, maybe only comparable to that of Faith no More. The audience are really passionate and participative while the band sound like a theatrical, often operatic symphonic jazz orchestra, all at the same time. Recorded at Sailsbury Arts Centre, a little venue where later the same day Napalm Death were recording their Live Corruption album since the managment were common to both bands.

The VHS video version of the event, called just Maresnest, is a must see, though it lacks two songs, namely Two bites of cherry and All Spectacular, and that's a lamentable thing for me, I mean, I think the show mantained such a flown level that can be really cut down with taking out just one song. The video also includes interesting backstage scenes.

Live albums like these are just a coronation to any truly involved artist. A show historic for being the last time Tim Quy and Sara Smith played with the band. A perfect sample of how climatic and intense a musical show could be when it falls to the right hands.

(Four stars and a half) Excellent!

Report this review (#178478)
Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A series of chimes ring out announcing the Alphabet Business Concern, the totalitarian (and totally fictional) umbrella under which CARDIACS performed. Pigeons coo, the crowd cheer and throw a prosthetic leg about the place. Everyone's up for it, and with a stinging guitar chord it begins...

... an hour and a half of the weirdest, most thrilling musical ride imaginable. CARDIACS don't care about fashion or labels. They care about drama and great fun, they see music as an out and out knees up. Complex time signatures because they fit, not because they're trying to be clever. Pomp and prog and punk and progression and psychedelica all mixed together in a great slab of in-your-face joy. Wry humour everywhere - Christan, the lead guitarist, is referred to throughout as 'she' and the crowd chants for Jim, the battered and picked-on younger brother of the band's leader and resident genius, TIM SMITH. And real skill: if you have the rare VHS video that goes with this performance (or if you watch the various Maresnest clips on YouTube) have a look at the work of the rhythm section and the keyboardist. Genuine virtuosity. 'It's a Lovely Day' is a microcosm of everything CARDIACS - a carnival whirlwind of everything that makes music such a fundamental part of life. Within this song is every component of progressive music youy could wish for, albeit presented in an unorthodox manner, a collision between the Canterbury Scene and Punk Rock, exploding everywhere with outrageous energy. The pace never slackens, the compositional and performance skills remain of the highest quality throughout. Pure gold, every moment.

As well as being a right royal rave-up, this live recording (released in 1995 but from a 1990 concert in Salisbury Cathedral) is something of a historical document, being the last time SARAH SMITH and TIM QUY performed with the band. This is a watershed in CARDIACS history, as after this they became a standard four-piece band. They retained their zaniness but, to my mind at least, lost that golden edge, that deep magic they mined during the 1980s. This adds a bittersweet tinge to a glorious moment in time. Adding further to that feeling is the knowledge that TIM SMITH is still recovering from a heart attack and subsequent strokes.

I tell you something, the man and his band made my heart feel better with this infectious, wacky, wholehearted, impossibly glorious music.

Report this review (#414303)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm a huge Cardiacs fan but they always struck me as one of those bands who's live albums never really worked. It's a case of 'you had to be there'. There's nothing ostensibly wrong with this album, it's just that I'd much rather listen to the studio versions. I was originally going to give this 2 stars but listening to the CD again this morning it struck me that no Cardiacs album should ever be rated so low and hey, you can't argue with the quality of music such as Tarred & Feathered, Big Ship etc. The recording is great, the performances are energetic and just lacks the extra clout Tim Smith gives his studio outpourings.
Report this review (#812832)
Posted Friday, August 31, 2012 | Review Permalink

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