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Cardiacs Guns album cover
3.46 | 54 ratings | 5 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spell With a Shell (3:17)
2. There's Good Cud (2:17)
3. Wind and Rains Is Cold (3:20)
4. Cry Wet Smile Dry (3:27)
5. Jitterbug (Junior Is A) (7:31)
6. Sleep All Eyes Open (2:58)
7. Come Back Clammy Lammy (4:07)
8. Clean That Evil Mud Out Your Soul (2:25)
9. Ain't He Messy Though (2:03)
10. Signs (4:25)
11. Song of a Dead Pest (2:37)
12. Will Bleed Amen (7:30)

Total Time: 45:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Smith / lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, arrangements, producer
- Jon Poole / guitar, keyboards, vocals, arrangements
- Sarah Smith / saxophones, vocals (1,3)
- Jim Smith / bass, vocals
- Bob Leith / drums
- Sharron Saddington / vocals (1,3,8,12)
- Joanne Spratley / vocals (6,7)

- Rob Deschamps / trombone, French horn

String quartet:
- Chris Brierly
- Catherine Morgan / violin
- Mark Pharaoh
- Robert Woolard

Releases information

CD The Alphabet ‎- ALPH CD 027 (1999, UK)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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Guns by CardiacsGuns by Cardiacs
$47.26 (used)

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CARDIACS Guns ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

CARDIACS Guns reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by russellk
2 stars This 1999 album is, sadly, likely to be CARDIACS' last full-length release. Even more sorrowfully, of all their incomparable catalogue this is the least essential.

What's missing? The energy, the vibrancy. The songs here are fine, but are played without the fire I worship them for. In fact I can't make up my mind whether they sound more like a BOWIE/MARC BOLAN glam rock pastiche or like a 70's SPLIT ENZ side project. This is certainly an enormous step down from 'Sing To God' released only a few years earlier.The flat, glossy production is partly to blame, but I think the fire has simply damped down too much.

But then there's 'Will Bleed Amen,' the album's last track. This song is right up there with the best in their canon and, for the serious CARDIACS fan, 'Guns' must be purchased for this song alone. Manic, glorious, playful, creative, enjoyable. The rest of the album, less so. If you are new to CARDIACS, please start somewhere else.

Review by frippism
4 stars I've been most careful with "Guns". It was either loved or rather disliked by many people, so I thought quite carefully about whether eventually getting it or not. The sound can be described many times with one word: Underwhelming. That is not a bad word at all. When I finally got it I listened to it once, and loved it. Many of them songs here are less in your face punk prog train smashing into a gigantic beehive made of steel. But they are beautiful. So very very beautiful. There always were so many layers in Cardiacs songs, that after more than 2,000 plays I have listening to this bands that I love more than words will ever be able to describe, there are always new things to find. And eventually even in the noisiest wildest moments of Cardiacs, I will find sincere and touching beauty. Here on "Guns" there are many moments of this beauty. After tens of listens I can say, that Cardiacs still had it back in '99, and managed to create a genius album and a worthy follow up to the sensational, mind blowing "Sing To God". Underwhelming is not a bad word at all.

A few things about the sound: it is more or less the same as any Cardiacs album, but different. It is quieter, more pastoral. It seems to me Tim Smith has been influenced by his mesmerizing side project "Spratley's Japs". The sound here at times is more psychedelic, more spacey, breathes more. The studio effects are put here to very good use, as these wonderful sound effects coat the songs in a supernatural aura.

A few things about the songs: They're spectacular. "Spell With A Shell", opens this album, and it's a bit of surprise. You can hear a change of sound. But it's grown on me and is a classic. "There's Good Cud" explodes with the insane energy you'd expect from Cardiacs, and wakes you up. "Cry Wet Smile Dry"- now that is a song. My god you can cry from the energy of this song, this wailing incredible chorus. "Jitterbug" has this long and twisting development until it slides into a very long and hypnotic psychedelic outro. Just bliss. "Clean That Evil Mud Out Your Soul"- this song is heaven. Cardiacs heaven. It takes this most hysterical and ridiculous line, twists it into so many time changes that I can hardly breathe, and opens into a chorus that always makes me think of go-go dancers (I don't know why don't ask me). "Signs"- this song is GENIUS. Tim Smith quivers like a mouse here on vocals, and it makes me grin. "Will Bleed Amen"- not much to say of this song. All there is to say it- it is the best thing to have been summoned to Earth by Tim Smith. It's bluesy riff (as bluesy as Cardiacs can be) gives me goosebumps especially when they get to the singing. I can't understand how someone can write something so beautiful and be human.

Unfortunately, "Come Back Clammy Lammy" is probably the one song separating this album from 5 stars. It is not a bad song, Cardiacs will never, ever write a bad song (Tim Smith himself said that he hates bad songs- proof right there). It's just not great as the rest of the album, and goes on a bit too long. "Sleep All Eyes Open", while having a great chorus, is not a masterpiece.

Musicians? All great. I don't really need to elongate. Listen to "Clean That Dirty Mud Out Your Soul". Case closed.

I really cannot think of a world without Cardiacs. Tim Smith is still recuperating from a stroke from '08 and is yet to get better. There is nothing as genius and pure, just pure music as Cardiacs. A world without them will just break the status quo of this planet.

Tim get well soon, all the best to you.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A number of people don't seem to love Guns as much as pretty much all other Cardiacs albums. Why is this? Certainly it's a fully valid Cardiacs album with excellent Cardiacs music on it. Well, one explanation may be that the album is off to a somewhat weak start with Spell with a Shell, and pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1570297) | Posted by Lewian | Tuesday, May 24, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Like many other reviewers, Cardiacs, have only become known to me in the very recent past. Though this group is labelled under the RIO/Avant-Prog sub-genre, I can attest that this a very thin affiliation at best. Unlike the remainder of artists found in this genre, Cardiacs are highly accessib ... (read more)

Report this review (#1323180) | Posted by suomynona | Thursday, December 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Cardiacs is a band. I love them Cardiacs people and having read sundry reviews of their noise on this site it is clear that they is a quicksand minded band who pull you into their world and not lets never. So I guess I'm preaching to the converted in my scribblings. But hey ho, nothi ... (read more)

Report this review (#331155) | Posted by raggleman | Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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