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Cardiacs - A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window CD (album) cover





4.29 | 304 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Music for people with ADHD

OK, sometimes you just have to man up, bite the bullet and admit you were wrong. Very wrong.

I have always dismissed RIO/Avant as a genre because it very obviously just wasn't to my taste. And most of it absolutely still isn't. I've had a Cardiacs album in the past (Sing to God), listened to it once, hated it and sold it. End of interest. However, Darren Reddick played Is This The Life? on his excellent "One Man and his Prog" on Planet Rock, and rather than turn it off, I listened to it. And I liked it. So I got this album.

It's a bit like a mixture of Barrett era Floyd (absolutely not my taste), The Stranglers (very much my taste) and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (No thank you). Tim Smith's vocal delivery is weird and the lyrics bizarre; the band never settles on an idea for long, but flit from discordant passages to ones of considerable beauty, alternating rhythms and time signatures at random. It's the sort of music someone with a very limited attention span would compose and absolutely love. But it works because it's interesting

If you buy this, don't expect an easy ride. This is not music for background listening: it demands your attention all the time. Do I like it? Well it depends on my mood.

In the wrong mood, something like R.E.S. would make me want to smash the hi fi, with its frenetic vocals and vaguely irritating keyboards motif. But at other times, the wacky but brilliant guitar part makes me want to play it again and again.

Do I like it? Not all of it all the time. But in the right mood, its complexity, interest and sheer eccentricity make it a good listen. Favourites are RES (if I'm in the mood), In a City Lining, The Whole World Window and Is This The Life. At times I hate the whole album, at others I really enjoy it.

But I guess that's the brilliance of The Cardiacs. At last, I understand.

Hercules | 4/5 |


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