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CARDIACS

RIO/Avant-Prog • United Kingdom


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Cardiacs biography
Complex, eccentric, defiantly different - Cardiacs are a unique, influential and sometimes overlooked force within the history of rock. Their status as a prog rock band is disputed by some, including frontman and composer Tim Smith himself, who notably prefers the term "psychedelic" or simply "pop".

Regardless, they are embraced by much of the prog rock community, as well as fans of punk, alternative, indie and pretty much every other permutation of rock music.

Their sound has gradually evolved over the decades from the raw DIY punk sound of their early cassette albums to the sumptuous grandeur and off-kilter pop of their most recent efforts, but all of it is shot through with Tim Smith's unique use of unusual chord progressions, Zappa-esque complexity, psychedelic overtones, catchy melodies and odd, often impenetrable lyrics.

Formed in 1977 (originally under the name of Cardiac Arrest), the band went through several line-ups, with Tim Smith and his brother Jim as the only constant members, before settling on the so-called "classic" line-up in 1984. This consisted of Tim Smith (guitar and lead vocals, primarily), Jim Smith (bass, vocals), William D. Drake (keyboards, vocals), Sarah Smith (saxophone, vocals), Tim Quy (percussion) and Dominic Luckman (drums).

This line-up was responsible for some of Cardiacs' most widely known albums including "A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window" and "On Land and in the Sea", as well as an eccentric, theatrical quality to their live performances including shabby uniforms, make-up, confetti and strange onstage banter.

After several departures (including Sarah Smith and William D. Drake) a pared-down quartet of Tim Smith, Jim Smith, Dominic Luckman and new second guitarist Jon Poole was established. William D. Drake was deemed irreplaceable and all future Cardiacs concerts featured the band playing to pre-recorded keyboard parts rather than a live musician, which took considerable skill, given the complex nature of much of the material.

This formula remained more or less constant from "Heaven Born and Ever Bright" up until the present, though Dominic Luckman and Jon Poole left at different points to be replaced by Bob Leith and Kavus Torabi respectively. For many the highlight of this period is the double album "Sing to God".

In 2008, Tim Smith suffered a major stroke, which has left him unable to record and perform music and plans for the long-awaited and imm...
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Buy CARDIACS Music


Sing to God Parts 1 & 2Sing to God Parts 1 & 2
Import
Alph
Audio CD$728.10
$372.46 (used)
The SeasideThe Seaside
Audio CD$24.99
Little Man & A House & The Whole WLittle Man & A House & The Whole W
Import
Under license from The Alphabet Business by Torso 1995
Audio CD$1,145.03
$106.19 (used)
GunsGuns
Import
Alph
Audio CD$24.99
$19.95 (used)
Songs By Cardiacs & Affectionate FriendsSongs By Cardiacs & Affectionate Friends
Organ 2003
Audio CD$49.95
$56.00 (used)
Songs for Ships and IronsSongs for Ships and Irons
Audio CD$24.99
Heaven Born And Ever BrightHeaven Born And Ever Bright
Audio CD$24.99
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Cardiacs: Sing to God Part 1 and 2 CD set Tim Smith US $28.78 [5 bids]
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William D. Drake The Rising Of The Lights cd cardiacs US $39.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Cardiacs - Archive Cardiacs - CD ALPH CD000 US $34.00 [0 bids]
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Cardiacs Guns cd US $59.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Cardiacs ?Archive Cardiacs cd US $59.99 Buy It Now 2 days
CARDIACS met CAMP BLACFKOOT Org-An-Ised Monthly CD Single Dirty Boy + 3 US $8.39 [1 bids]
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CARDIACS heaven born and ever bright CD 11 track (alphcd017) uk alphabet 0 US $67.22 Buy It Now 3 days
Cardiacs live concert Astoria London 10th of November 2006 poster print A5 size US $25.20 Buy It Now 5 days
The Cardiacs live concert Klubfoot 23 June 1988 small mini poster print A5 size US $25.20 Buy It Now 6 days
Cardiacs Rude Bootleg lp vinyl with inner US $114.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Cardiacs Signs cd rare! US $49.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Cardiacs Garage Concerts Vol I cd US $124.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Cardiacs Garage Concerts Vol II cd US $124.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Kinks tribute Shangri La DUTCH LP Reegs Cardiacs Droogs Fleshtones Wolfhounds US $24.99 Buy It Now 7 days
William D. Drake- Yew's Paw. Prog, psych, Cardiacs, Tim Smith, MINT! US $29.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Cardiacs- Garage Concerts Vol. II. Prog, psych, avant, experimental, Tim Smith US $54.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Cardiacs Songs for Ships and Irons cd US $39.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Cardiacs Susannah's Still Alive 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) UK ALPH009T US $23.45 Buy It Now 9 days
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Cardiacs ?- Is This The Life RARE ORIG House Of Dolls MAGAZINE + 7" NEAR MINT US $16.79 Buy It Now 13 days
THE ORGAN FANZINE ISSUE 12 - CARDIACS/THE JANITORS/GONG/STONE COLD/MAYHEM US $25.20 Buy It Now 14 days
THE ORGAN FANZINE ISSUE 47 - CARDIACS/THE DANDY WARHOLS/CORROSION OF CONFORMITY US $15.11 Buy It Now 14 days
HOUSE OF DOLLS #2 sampler EP 7" Cardiacs/Orange Cartest/In Two A Circle ex 1988 US $6.71 Buy It Now 14 days
Cardiacs - Songs by and Affectionate Friends (2001) CD STILL SEALED US $42.01 Buy It Now 17 days
Cardiacs Fuzztones live concert London 27 November 1988 poster print A5 size bw US $25.20 Buy It Now 17 days
Cardiacs 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) The Nighttracks Radio 1 Session UK US $57.07 Buy It Now 18 days
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Cardiacs Tim Smith live UK concert tour November 2007 poster print A5 size US $25.20 Buy It Now 23 days
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CARDIACS is this the life 7" b/w i'm eating in bed (alph008sp) pic sleeve uk alp US $25.20 Buy It Now 24 days
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Cardiacs Tim Smith live London 11 November 2000 very small poster print A5 size US $25.20 Buy It Now 26 days
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CARDIACS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CARDIACS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 8 ratings
The Obvious Identity
1980
3.86 | 7 ratings
Toy World
1981
4.08 | 49 ratings
The Seaside
1984
4.30 | 161 ratings
A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window
1988
4.20 | 66 ratings
On Land And In The Sea
1989
3.68 | 34 ratings
Heaven Born And Ever Bright
1992
4.26 | 179 ratings
Sing To God
1996
3.19 | 33 ratings
Guns
1999

CARDIACS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.40 | 6 ratings
Rude Bootleg
1986
4.57 | 7 ratings
Cardiacs Live
1988
4.49 | 12 ratings
All That Glitters Is A Mares Nest
1995
4.64 | 12 ratings
Garage Concerts Vol.I
2005
4.38 | 7 ratings
Garage Concerts Vol.II
2005

CARDIACS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CARDIACS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 13 ratings
Archive Cardiacs 1977-1979
1989
4.31 | 49 ratings
Songs For Ships And Irons
1991

CARDIACS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Big Ship
1986
5.00 | 1 ratings
There's Too Many Irons In The Fire
1987
4.50 | 2 ratings
Is This The Life
1988
5.00 | 1 ratings
Susannah's Still Alive
1988
4.00 | 2 ratings
Day Is Gone
1991
4.96 | 4 ratings
Manhoo
1995
4.05 | 3 ratings
Odd Even
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Signs
1999
4.05 | 5 ratings
Ditzy Scene
2007

CARDIACS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window  by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.30 | 161 ratings

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A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars This is where the CARDIACS hit their stride after honing and perfecting their sound from the punk roots of their earlier albums. Here they perfected the songwriting, added new instruments, crafted diverse intros and upped the progginess with strange time signatures in unexpected ways including waltzes and military marches. The progressive punk elements are mixed with an Oingo Boingo type circus music effect that firmly cements them in their own branch in the rock universe since absolutely nobody else sounds like they do.

This is one of those rare albums where I literally never tire of it. I can listen to it and then listen to it again and again and again. I am so intrigued by how well crafted this magnificent specimen of musical maestrohood springs forth everything I love about music including somewhat simple catchy melodies that spiral off into subtle prog tangents that don't interfere with the continuity of the simple parts while boldly interpolating themselves randomly into the flow of things yet never impeding it. The songs are more varied on this album compared with the previous ones and there are simpler tracks that are happy being closer to early guitar oriented new wave than full on schizoid hyperactivity that tracks like R.E.S. exhibit.

Despite being utterly shunned back when this was released time has been kind to the CARDIACS since this album is cited by countless artists as being a major influence in their own work and the consistent high praise and ratings only confirm that this will be loved for many decades to come. I am a very late discoverer of this group but once I heard this (my first album) I was instantly hooked and couldn't believe that this came out when it did. A latecomer to my musical collection it is but it has skyrocketed up to the top tier of my absolute favorites.

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 The Seaside by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.08 | 49 ratings

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The Seaside
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars THE SEASIDE is the third release by the CARDIACS and like the previous two it was initially only released on cassette and only available at the band's concerts and through the fan club. The CD release which came out in 1995 was an abridged version. The original cassette tracks of "Nurses Whispering Verses," "Is This The Life?," "A Little Man And A House" and "Dinner Time" were not included because the master tape containing them had been damaged or lost. On another note "Is This The Life?," "A Little Man And A House" and "R.E.S." were re-recorded and included on the following album. "Nurses Whispering Verses" was also re-recorded and found a home on "Sing To God."

This is really where the interesting period with the CARDIACS begins where all the ska punk meets all those progressive layerings to make something unparalleled in the musical world. It has been called post punk, progressive punk, zolo and even pronk. Yes, they remind me a bit of Devo meets Madness with maybe some Zappa and countless other influences thrown in for good mix but I think anyone who has heard their music will admit that NOBODY sounds like the CARDIACS except they themselves.

This album takes what was started on their previous albums and adds, refines, perfects and intensifies. The album hosts no more than 12 musicians including sax, alto sax, two keyboardists, marimba, trumpets and trombone in addition to the standard rock ones. Despite this album being somewhat of a transitional one between two different lineups it manages to emerge as a very strong album and the first to be released on their own label. Not quite as good as their following but not too far off.

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 The Obvious Identity  by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.94 | 8 ratings

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The Obvious Identity
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars The CARDIACS actually started out in 1977 and experimented with names like Filth but changed their name to CARDIAC ARREST for their second concert and managed to release this rare cassette only release in 1980 before discovering that the band name was already taken. After toying with other names like The Alphabet and The Obvious Identity, they finally decided on the name they are better known as.

This is as lo-fi and straight from the artist as it gets. They only made 1000 cassettes and they were only sold at concerts. The quality is pretty bad as you can imagine but even from the very beginning the CARDIACS already had a developed fusion of their art punk and prog rock. This first album is raw and unpolished with more emphasis on the punk side of the equation without a lot of synth and no sax but there is absolutely no doubt who this is.

Tim Smith's (under the guise of Philip Pilf here) vocals are just as zany and proudly displaying his Estuary English. It begins with many strong tracks complete with odd time signatures and sudden unexpected pauses but the end of the album tends to sound closer to standard punk but there are signs of their signature zolo pronk there as well foreshadowing the more refined albums that would soon be created. This album is much better than I would have expected and well worth checking out. 3.5 rounded up

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 A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window  by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.30 | 161 ratings

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A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt

2 stars EXTRA!! "THE RESIDENTS"; HAVE BEEN ABDUCTED, STERILIZED; AND TURNED BACK TO PLAY THE MUSIC OF "GONG"!!! (With less humor; but all their cliches even Davidsīs screams!!... READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!! ....Come on people; so this is where RIO is turning; backwards and nowhere. How F..King sad; really. Or maybe "GONG" is really, really; underrated and overlooked (When you come to terms with it) even in the RIO / AG category! . I was so excited to get this work. Why do people insist on looking forward if they dont know whats behind? Really there are things Music School cant! teach you; you have to do it by your own. How I miss Samla Mammas Manna; un-pretentious dexterity and real-humor! Because a Gong fan I never was; less their "they dont have a clue "replicas". Well so; this is how RIO sounds in the Sell-out or Die! ! ! "era" or go main-stream and lose your soul in the giving!! .So it came to this: More musicianship, less Balls, less daring, less original; F$$K! 2 - "IM SURE THEY HAVE LOYAL FANS STARS"

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 Heaven Born And Ever Bright  by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.68 | 34 ratings

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Heaven Born And Ever Bright
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars I have liked the punk ! Even being a Pink Floyd and Yes addict I didn't feel the need to separate the two things and choosing just one. Punk was not mainstream as well as Tales from Topographic Oceans. Then the post-punk came bringing some actually good things. The best of them for me are the DEVO.

What makes me enjoy the Cardiacs a lot is that they are the only inheriters of that crazy band in a musical sense. This album is full of punk rhythms with post-punk sounds and absoulutely non-trivial and unusual sequences of chords. For my pleasure there are songs like "Goodbye Grace" and "Everything I Can't Eat" which sound both punk but together with more avant-prog things like She Is Hiding Behind The Shed" and the excellent "Helen And Heaven" which is not punk but it's for me the best album's track.

The sequence of the tracks has been chosen very carefully, I think. The fact that a song like Helen And Heaven is followed by "Bodysbad" which is very close to the DEVO of 15 years before means that the listener can't relax thinking to listen to a numebr of songs of the same kind. The change is big but not too much. There's a good balance in the list.

Of course the Cardiacs are better player than most of the artists of the punk era and even when they use rhythms and sounds from the punk age they are arranged very skillfully and some passages are light years over the technical possibilities of any punk rocker.

Another band whose I can hear some influences is the CARS. Don't get me wrong, I know that they were an electronic mainstream rock band, but some of their more "experimental" songs, especially those in wich they were produced by Andy Warhol, are not too distant from "Core" even if Cardiacs are clearly a British band with a British sound.

This album in particular is less experimental than its great predecessors but very far from being mainstream. In any case it's not too difficult and is approachable by everybody, unless one is used to listen to Charles Aznavour only.

A special mention to the album closer which is also the longest track. It contains a bit of everything, starting from the keyboard after the initial crescendo which can remind even to YES and the vocals coming just after which remind me the WHO of Tommy without losing the band's identity. This is Cardiacs! A great song which values the price for the whole album.

Excellent.

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 Sing To God by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.26 | 179 ratings

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Sing To God
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Sing to God' - Cardiacs (10/10)

Listening to Cardiacs, I get the mental image of a deranged gerbil in a hole somewhere composing music. Although at one point he may have been content to write jingles and fine- tuned pop ditties in exchange for sunflower seeds, Cardiacs represents everything past the point where the gerbil loses his grasp on reality and becomes wrapped up in creative fervor. Now unabated by mundane rodent things, the gerbil and his music fall deeper into madness. Although this may not do well to describe Cardiacs' manic mix of punk rock and avant-prog, it should give a good indicator of the feeling "Sing to God" gives me as a listener. It's catchy, experimental, and about as close to the peppy end of a manic depressive episode as I imagine music could aptly depict. Really, it's pop music beyond words or sense, and I can't seem to get enough of it.

Among other things, punk music arose as an opposition to the bombast and overcomplexity of progressive rock. In lieu of this, it's quite the irony to see Cardiacs not only fusing the two styles together, but doing so as if prog and punk were made for each other. "Sing to God" runs the gamut in terms of styles: a sense of symphonic bombast comparable to Yes is mixed with Beatles-esque baroque pop sensibilities and injected with the venom of pub- dwelling punk rock. These sounds- which would often conflict with each other in the 'real' world- are all fused with a viciously tongue-in-cheek attitude pleasantly reminiscent of Frank Zappa. I could also compare the band's overdubbed vocal harmonies to Queen, or the general 'what-the-hell-am-I-listening-to' atmosphere to Mr. Bungle, but Cardiacs ultimately stand on a ground of their own. Did I forget to mention that the band manage to make this experimental chaos as catchy as the plague?

Many of the songs on "Sing to God" rest on a tightrope between order and chaos. Many of the songs enjoy a level of comfort in catchy instrumental hooks and quaint vocal melodies. With the exception of a few tracks (most notably the cinematic-worthy "Dirty Boy", the unsettling soundscape "Quiet as a Mouse" and some of the shorter musical sketches), the majority of "Sing to God" boasts a foundation in good old fashioned songwriting. Vocalist and mastermind Tim Smith has a zany and wildly charismatic voice that would have even fit comfortably into British alternative rock canon, were it not for the extent Cardiacs take their basic elements and contort them. Although some elements are best kept as a surprise for fresh listeners, be sure to expect everything from 'chipmunk vocals' to film score flourishes, classically-influenced pianos, circus music, hyperpunk rhythmic energy and everything in between. Of particular note are the extra-wacky tunes "Dog-Like Sparky", "A Horse's Tale" and "Dirty Boy", a longer piece that gets remarkably profound and damned near celestial by the end of it. Tim Smith's lyrics are a world of their own, and though there's not often the sense that there's an explicit meaning behind the absurdity, they're absolutely fascinating within the context of such a chaotic album. Although- at an hour and a half- the album may be a little long for one comfortable sitting, there is no filler to speak of, although the first half is decidedly better than the latter.

In spite of the zany effects, absurdly surreal lyrics, wall-of-sound production and mile-per- second flow of ideas, Cardiacs remain- at their core- a pop band, and "Sing to God" remains a pop album. In the end, it's the interplay between the hyper-weird and catchy elements therein that makes the album so bloody fascinating. Depending on where your mental state may be at the time of listening, it will either be a trip through the most euphoric hyperparadise dreams could forge, or a reality-distrupting soundtrack to nightmares. Whatever way it may strike, "Sing to God" is pretty unforgettable, and it just may be the greatest experimental rock record I have ever had the strained pleasure of listening to.

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 Heaven Born And Ever Bright  by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.68 | 34 ratings

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Heaven Born And Ever Bright
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars The Cardiacs can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. Other than the first two tape recordings as shown at the start of this discography, their albums are without parallel.

'The Alphabet Business Concern' which opens the album sounds like the drunken National Anthem to a completely blootered middle England, being really loud and bombastic throughout with big booming drums and massed vocals.

As other reviewers have hinted at, this is a bit more straightforward than all their other albums but blimey, it still rocks like a daddy and jumps about like a jack-in-the-box. If you took away the manic vocals of Tim Smith it may sound to some listeners like a more pumped up testosterone injected, 'Madness' starring Suggs circa 1981.

On hearing this again, I'm really surprised by the low score. 'Goodbye Grace' is pure bonkers - with all of what's best in the Cardiacs - manic drums, thrashing guitars, weird time signatures, old fashioned keyboards which now, in 2013 sound undated, and a crazy front man spitting bullets out of his mouth at 100mph.

'Anything I Can't Eat' is pretty much like above but doubled in intensity. Man - I love these guys! The more I hear this album the better it gets. I've never before heard a band that sounds so crazy to be able to hold a beat and tune together despite the random sudden changes in beat.

If you've not heard the Cardiacs before - this is a good entry point as some of their later material - 'Sing to God' in particular, is completely off the wall and totally crazy. 'Heaven Born And Ever Bright ' isn't particularly easy on the ear - it thrashes about wildly, kicking, spitting and thrashing out at all who are willing to listen.

Great fun!

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 On Land And In The Sea  by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.20 | 66 ratings

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On Land And In The Sea
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
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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 All That Glitters Is A Mares Nest  by CARDIACS album cover Live, 1995
4.49 | 12 ratings

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All That Glitters Is A Mares Nest
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by raggleman

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 spot-on........it just lacks the extra clout Tim Smith gives his studio outpourings.

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 A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window  by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.30 | 161 ratings

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A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars Truly one of those bands you'll either love or hate, the Cardiacs polarise opinions with everyone who's heard them. There's something endearingly English and wacky about the Cardiacs that no other nation have been able to replicate before or since. On this one they've finally got the big studio sound they so deserved.

This album is a bit more straightforward in construction than their masterpiece "Sing to God' from '95. Therefore it's a much easier listen. That's not to say that things are easy... Things never are with the Cardiacs. You'll hear some truly deranged time signatures accompanied by start-stop keyboards and guitars which vary in speed dramatically. It's all very exciting and unpredictable as you'd come to expect from this bunch of whacked out loonies. For a quick reference check out 'Tarred and Feathered' on You Tube to see what you'll be letting yourself in for.

Consistently brilliant, without a dull moment due to the delightful crazy tight musicianship and frantic staccato between all players which sound as tight as 'Beefheart and his Magic Band' at their prime.

There's a fair bit of 'Madness' with muscle flung in as well amongst the melee which only increases the brilliance. This recording is far easier to consume, being more vulnerable than 'Sing to God' but remains just as schizophrenic and intense.

It's such a shame that no one could make head nor tail of them in '88. They should have been superstars .

The Cardiacs drove me to drink and I never even had the decency to thank them.

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