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Cardiacs Toy World album cover
3.83 | 33 ratings | 1 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aukamacic
2. Over (Outtake)
3. Icky Qualms
4. Over + Over + Over + Over
5. Dead Mouse
6. A Big Noise In A Toy World
7. Trademark
8. Scratching Crawling Scrawling
9. As Cold As Can Be In An English Sea
10. ...Verses (Outtake)
11. Is This The Life?
12. Nurses Whispering Verses
13. A Time For Rejoicing

Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Smith / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Sarah Cutts / keyboards, alto sax, clarinet, vocals
- Colvin Mayers / keyboards (3-5)
- Jim Smith / bass, vocals
- Mark Cawthra / drums, vocals

Releases information

MC Self-released (1981, UK) Only sold at concerts and via mail-order (?)

Thanks to SaltyJon for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CARDIACS Toy World ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

CARDIACS Toy World reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The decidedly unclassifiable antics of one of Britain's strangest bands known as the CARDIACS, or technically just CARDIACS started all the way back in 1977 by brothers Tim and Jim Smith when the band was thrown into the catchall punk world and then known as Cardiac Arrest. While the atmosphere of the era was that punk had dethroned prog as the dominant rock based genre, CARDIACS performed the unthinkable circus act of actually becoming both simultaneously. Described as an unearthly lovechild of Gentle Giant, Madness, Frank Zappa, Van der Graaf Generator, Marillion, Dexy's Midnight Runners, The Stranglers, Devo, the Damned and King Crimson, this band defied all easy pigeonholing and created one of the most bizarre idiosyncrasies of any genre. Known for their outlandish theatrical live settings as well as a form of prog fueled punk later described as pronk, this band of choppy rhythmics blasts and unbridled musical energy was too much for most to handle at the time (and still is for some).

After releasing the cassette only debut "The Obvious Identity" in 1980 which was sold only at live shows or through mail orders, the band went through a few changes which found not only the moniker change that would dropped the "Arrest" and become the better known CARDIACS but would see a lineup change that found the addition of Sarah Cutts (later Sarah Smith) who would steer the band closer to their classic 80s sound with her unique contributions of sax, clarinet and keyboards. Only when keyboardist William Drake jumped aboard in 1983 would the band become fully take full flight, at least in terms of ingenious musical integrity. As far as popularity was concerned, the band would remain firmly in the underground for a few decades and wait for the rest of the world to catch up to their unsurpassed originality. Part punk, part prog, fully spastic and fully fueled with Zappa-esque quirkiness, CARDIACS were on their way to even stranger worlds.

The second release TOY WORLD (first as CARDIACS) appeared in 1981 and was a mix of previous unreleased Cardiac Arrest material as well as new material with Sarah Cutts. As with its predecessor, TOY WORLD was released on cassette only and sold at live shows as well as available through mail order. The rarest of all CARDIACS releases, this one has never been rereleased and pretty much only available for your listening pleasure on the internet unless you were one of the minuscule samplings of humanity who actual was around in the early 80s London scene and was warped enough to be attracted to this bombastic musical mayhem. The album features two proto-versions of "Is This The Life?" and "Nurses Whispering Verses" which were re-recorded for "A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window" and "The Seaside" re-release.

Despite the absence of the keyboard virtuosity of William Drake, TOY WORLD is the first sign of the brilliance of future CARDIACS releases with primary songwriter Tim Smith honing in on the perfect marriage of the aforementioned influences which would remove CARDIACS from its underground status and become one of the modern day world's most revered lost bands of the past. TOY WORLD exudes the whimsical carnival atmosphere, the tightly knit rhythmic drive punctuated with angular time signature freak outs as well as Smith's instantly identifiable British thick accented lyrics sung in musical freneticism that led the maelstrom of madness to conquer the underground music scene. Also finding their full firing power were the atmospheric touches of the keyboards, the unorthodox compositional styles and the wider range of dynamics that allowed less frantic psychedelic passages to trade off with the more spastic outbursts of unrelenting mind-fuc.kery as well as that undeniable "avant-swing" that allowed the whole thing to coalesce into the sum of the parts.

While never having been re-released (and i sure hope that changes), individual tracks from TOY WORLD have found their way onto various releases such as the "Archive Cardiacs" compilation as well as various live releases. The only tracks that have never found a home on any other releases are "Over (outtake)", "Over + Over + Over + Over", "A BIG NOISE In A Toy World", "Verses" and "A Time For Rejoicing" and like all the tracks on TOY WORLD are essential listening experiences. Perhaps the only negative of this release is the production quality but it's this very self-produced, self-released quality of this early artifact that really displays that DIY ethic that made CARDIACS what they were, so in some circles that may actually be a good thing. Musically speaking, the compositions would need a little tightening up for prime time but all in all this is an enjoyable slice of musical excellence that clearly demonstrates why Tim Smith's compositional genius has been compared to the likes of Frank Zappa.

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