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Cardiacs - Sing To God CD (album) cover





4.27 | 298 ratings

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5 stars Rating: A+

Oh wow. Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow. Shall I say it again? Oh wow.

Sorry for not being professional but. wow. Just wow. I can and will wax poetic about this album in this review, but I will never be able to describe it more accurately than I just have with "wow." This is a stunning album from start to finish, a masterpiece through and through. Sing to God is one of those few (I currently only know twelve) albums that can truly be described as flawless, and it is the only one that is a double CD (as opposed to a double album, which will often amount to only a single CD). In 22 songs, Tim Smith and co. present the most concise (yes, concise) view of exactly how good the "pronk" (progressive punk) subgenre can be.

Sadly, the Cardiacs are virtually unknown, even in the progressive world (though they once opened for Marillion and were pelted with a variety of unsavory objects). It's difficult enough to find this album (though it's currently available through the band's website), let alone for a reasonable price, but is it ever worth it. If you are willing to take the risk and buy this album, you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. The theme of this album may be of the hidden sins of religion (at least, that's how I interpret it), but the album itself is pure heaven without a single fault in sight.

I pride myself on being very open-minded about music (with appropriate credit given to Can's Tago Mago for making me that way), and I find that I can enjoy just about any style of music when it's done well. Not only that, I also find that I like albums ranging the gamut from slow, meditative kick-back albums to fast, pounding, blood-pumping roller coasters. This album definitely falls into the latter category. This album is so full of energy that it even wears off on me; I cannot listen to this album without pacing to get rid of the tension I feel. For the record, there are no other albums I can say this about.

Amazingly, that is only one of many ways this album is unique. Perhaps the most accurate description of the Cardiacs' music (other than "wow") is that they sound simultaneously like everyone and no one. On this album, you will hear traces of a fair few of the bands you know (even some of those who came later than the Cardiacs), and yet the Cardiacs will not strike as derivative of any of them, because the end result is completely different from any other band. Thankfully, this mish-mash of influences and innovations comes together perfectly, creating a stellar flow for the album.

This flow comes from the fact that Sing to God, while incredibly musically diverse, ultimately bases itself on one sound. They take the energy of punk (raised a few orders of magnitude) and mix with it the experimentation of post-punk and the song development of progressive rock, a combination that can be heard in full force on almost every track, but on "Dirty Boy" in particular. Thus, if you like bands like This Heat, Hella, Uz Jsme Doma, and even The Mars Volta, you will find plenty to appreciate here. All of these bands fuse punk and prog (and often other musical styles as well), but none quite so effectively as the Cardiacs.

The leader of the Cardiacs, Tim Smith, has earned the nickname "Ludwig Von" for his compositional skills, and it's easy to see why on Sing to God. The level of intelligence present easily rivals that of great classical composers, with the added bonus that this music rocks in a way that classical just can't. Lyrically, the album seems to revolve around the sins of religion (as I mentioned earlier), though I can't be sure. I base this interpretation off the multiple references to dirt (and dirt-related things, such as worms) and the equally prominent references to religion ("Sing to God," "we will praise him," "Jesus will hold his fiery hand to the gun"), but I haven't actually analyzed the lyrics.

And so, now that I've talked about the various reasons why this album as a whole is astounding, I probably ought to go into more detail about some of the better songs on the album. It seems that every review of the Cardiacs' Sing to God mentions three songs, "Dog Like Sparky," "Fiery Gun Hand," and "Dirty Boy," and for good reason, as these are three standout songs, but I won't go into too much detail about them, as I'd rather focus on the less-respected but equally good pieces of genius on the album. Most prominent among these is "Nurses Whispering Verses." The main theme (musically) is one of if not the most interesting of any song I know, complex and yet catchy, and, perhaps most accurate of all, simply cool. Other highlights include the metallic "Eat it up Worms Hero," the long groove of "Wireless," and the "Bell Stinks" and "Bell Clinks" duo. And, what the hell, "Dirty Boy" is the best of them all. If you want to know the meaning of awesome, look no further than this song. If you want to know the meaning of intensity, look no further than this song. The relentless, pounding attack that elevates "Dirty Boy" from the opening moments comes to a head as the backup singers (there are two) each hold a single note for two whole minutes (!!) while the band crescendos furiously around them in one of the most heavenly pieces of music ever conceived. I do not lie when I say that "Dirty Boy" is a serious contender for the greatest song ever written.

There are a handful of CDs better than Sing to God. Everything else, however, falls in the face of this stellar CD. Many bands have tried an overwrought double concept album; most have found it's not as easy as it looks. And how easy does it look? Well, Sing to God makes it look like a breeze. It just flows that well. No filler, no weak songs, nothing. Just pure, unending bliss. This is what music is all about.

Pnoom! | 5/5 |


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