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Cardiacs - On Land And In The Sea CD (album) cover





4.39 | 184 ratings

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5 stars OK, there's this song. 'The Duck and Roger the Horse' it's called. (Roger the horse, hee hee, naughty scamps, these CARDIACS.) I can't describe it; you simply have to hear it. Well, maybe I can describe it. I'll use lots of words like 'chaos' and 'insanity'. There's this series of noises to start it off, then lyrics shouted so fast I can't make them out, but which apparently go 'Duck tells me I must look a treat/I look my best so I tell him/Scrub me head and feet, make me nice and neat/I'm a different man so they say/Ha ha ha ha.' Good-oh. Chaotic staccato stabs in ridiculous time signatures lead eventually into this short proggy section. And I do mean proggy. There's frenetic, raging metal moments, insane thousand-words-a-minute vocals, complete halts, amazing syncopated keyboards, drums and vocals all mixed together, incredibly tight musicianship - anything and everything, a full album's worth of creativity - and, best of all, it all makes glorious sense and is a fabulous fun-filled song. And it's not even four minutes long.

This is the sort of thing SYD BARRETT might have done had he been able to keep working: this album certainly has more than a whiff of psychedelica about it. It also has the same BARRETT wry humour, and the same deliberately naive songwriting style, borrowing from childish rhymes and simple tunes, splicing everything together in a complex fashion. What marks this album out from anything that came before it in CARDIACS' discography is the consistently high standard of composition. There's nothing less than completely compelling until one reaches 'Horsehead', the short seventh track, but there is no real weakness on this album. Everything challenges, everything entertains.

This is essential. It's punky, it's proggy, it's energetic, it's fun. They make you fall in love with them. And these songs sound even better live: check out the 'Maresnest' vids on YouTube and see what I'm talking about. If this lot don't move your feet, you ain't got feet.

And get well, Tim.

russellk | 5/5 |


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