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Cardiacs - Sing To God CD (album) cover

SING TO GOD

Cardiacs

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.27 | 298 ratings

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Morda
5 stars Not an album for prog purists but if you don't mind a bit of punk with your prog (and psychedelia and about twenty styles thrown into the mix) and you have a few months to actually try and understand the music then you have one of the most original, most coherent and most well executed albums - certainly of the 90s and quite possibly ever. Somehow even among Cardiacs albums Sing to God stands out, both in terms of being a strong contender for their best album and also in terms of sounding very different even to their other albums - although with enough listenings some similarities between Sing to God and the albums that preceded and followed it (Heaven Born and Ever Bright and Guns, respectively) can be heard.

This album is perhaps their most overtly chaotic sounding but is also their most eclectic in terms of influences, more punk-influenced tracks than since their tape album days (notably Bell Stinks and Bell Clinks and Angleworm Angel), a couple of folk influenced tracks (Fairy Mary Mag, Foundling), acoustic rock elements (in Flap Off You Beak and Odd Even) and even gospel (in Bellyeye). At first listen it may sound more noisy and angular than the rest of Cardiacs' output due to the high pitch of the backing singers, the compositional method (with Jon Poole writing the guitar parts and Tim Smith writing the remainder of the song around these in many songs) and the reams of punk energy that are perhaps more restrained in the rest of their output. Once you've got over the initial shock of the sheer energy and technicality of the music the melodies and subtle details begin to shine through and after enough listens you can hear subtleties in the music that many albums, even in progressive rock, simply lack.

Lyrically this album demonstrates the typical mid and late Tim Smith style of lyric writing - with the songs all having a deeper meaning but also appearing very opaque. The lyrics often fall off-meter and this can add an extra dimension of complexity to some songs but are nevertheless heartfelt. For those who are keen on music theory the technicalities of the music should also be an attraction - there is an analysis online of the music theory of one of the most outwardly "normal" and "simple" sounding tracks on this album which underscores the sheer attention to detail that this seemingly chaotic band put into their music, Google "Odd Even" on dfan.org.

Highlights of the album include Dirty Boy (where the final note is sustained for three minutes!), Nurses Whispering Verses (a re-recording of a very old Cardiacs song), Bellyeye, Dog-Like Sparky, Fiery Gun Hand, Bell Clinks and Bell Stinks and Flap Off You Beak.

For a new listener of Cardiacs this is perhaps a good avenue into getting the band, particularly if your background is in progressive metal (especially tech/extreme progressive metal), the more interesting side of punk or avant-prog bands in the style of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Estradasphere or Mr. Bungle. For those of a more 70s prog or neo-prog bent I'd recommend starting with A Little Man and a House and maybe giving yourself about twice the time you normally would to let the album sink in. Once again, I would like to state that this album is not for progressive rock purists, if you're expecting this album to sound like early Genesis then it's inevitable that you will hate it - many people who dislike this band do so because they come in expecting something else entirely and are obviously disappointed as a result. However, with an open mind and enough time then this album is one of the most unique, enjoyable listens that you will be likely to ever find.

Morda | 5/5 |

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