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Cardiacs - Sing to God CD (album) cover

SING TO GOD

Cardiacs

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.28 | 323 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
5 stars Considered the pinnacle of the Mark II phase, SING TO GOD was the fourth studio album from the CARDIACS which came out in 1996, four years after the previous album "Heaven Born And Ever Bright." Having landed on his feet as the leader of a trimmed down four-piece band, Tim Smith shifted the band's eclectic keyboard drenched sound to a heavier progressive punk = pronk style which focused on the more aggressive twin guitar attacks accompanied by those indefatigable time signature workouts with beyond bizarre jazz-tinged chord changes. SING TO GOD took everything the CARDIACS had done up to this point and threw it all in a steaming hot cauldron and turned up the heat even more.

After losing the four key members that resulted in the band's first album as a quartet on the last album, drummer Dominic Luckman followed suit and left the band after "Heaven Born And Ever Bright" and was replaced by Bob "Babba" Leith thus completing what is called the second classic lineup which would only release this classic album SING TO GOD and the following final CARDIACS album "Guns." Guitarist / keyboardist John Poole took on a greater role in the songwriting department and within the course of the three years between albums the band accumulated a huge reservoir of material which resulted in a double album of 22 tracks that collectively add up to almost 89 minutes of spastic progressive art punk infused with new elements of psychedelia and catchy pop hooks. Other members also contributed more liberally to the creative process thus making SING TO GOD the most diverse sounding CARDIACS albums of their canon.

Although technically a quartet SING TO GOD still benefited from myriad guest musicians including vocals and saxophones by former member Sarah Smith, violins, trumpets, a string quartet, orchestral arrangements and even a musical appearance from a pair of scissors! While clearly an unmistakable CARDIACS album, SING TO GOD sounds like the band was phasing in and out of reality thus providing the soundtrack for another dimension or state of consciousness. Fortified with the usual crafty pop hooks infused with punk rock guitar heft, CARDIACS went for the angularity jugular on this double dipping of musical surreality. The first noticeable thing about SING TO GOD is the return to a more diverse palette of instrumentation with more keyboard parts courtesy of Jon Poole and a greater expansiveness of dynamics with tracks shifting from slow crawlers to bombastic punk fury without notice.

"Eden On The Air" starts the show with an introduction to the more atmospheric side of the band with those contorted rhythms, twisted time signatures and everything-in-opposition approach to songwriting without sacrificing the buttressing pop infused hooks that keep it all rather accessible. The following "Eat It Up Worms Hero" explodes into punk guitar fury but also goes for the brutal prog jugular with sudden stylistic shifts, flirtations with near metal music orotundity and an almost religious devotion to mondo-bizarro on the altar of unorthodoxy. While the main emphasis of SING TO GOD is much like "Heaven Born And Ever Bright" with the monstrous guitar riffs and theatrical vocals all fluttering around in frenetic zolo art punk style, the more psychedelic and orchestral elements that were added gave SING TO GOD a much more epic feel as opposed to previous CARDIACS releases.

SING TO GOD also showcased a new infatuation with production as that intangible extra instrument to take the music into even stranger worlds. Along with the punk fury barraging at quickened tempos, CARDIACS employed krautrock techniques more famously associated with the early 70s from bands like Faust, Neu!, Can and other German classics which adds a somewhat smoothing out of the incessant barrage of high octane derangement of the punk fueled avant-prog escapade resulting in one highbrow autistic episodic outburst after another. The addition of orchestral arrangements and the string quartet that serves as background supplementation only adds to this.

SING TO GOD was a slow burner for me having always preferred the classic Mark I lineup but after these 90s albums started to get under my skin i was a convert and now find all phases of the CARDIACS music to be equally ingenious thanks of course to the mastermind prodigy Tim Smith whose beyond eccentric idiosyncrasies required decades of the general public to catch up with to be able to handle such a barrage of creative genius. What's amazing about SING TO GOD is the diversity of tracks and an utterly brilliant attention to detail beginning with well-crafted melodic developments for all of the bells and whistles to wrap around. Sure it may require a number of spins to wrap your head around this menagerie of psychotic lunacy but once you adjust your antennae to receive the proper signals, this one will blow your mind even after you've heard it a number of times! Tim Smith has stated that the title SING TO GOD referred to an imaginary child's hymn book and if such a soundtrack existed in some twisted reality this would surely be it.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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