Cardiacs
Sing to God


5.0
classic

Review

by DatsNotDaMetulz USER (52 Reviews)
December 6th, 2014 | 53 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cardiacs at their peak

Not many people will know who these guys are, but ask members of bands such as Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, Blur, Opeth and experimental weirdos Mr Bungle and you’ll see just how influential this little known English band really is. Always at odds with the music press and a true marmite band who were either adored or loathed, even to the point that NME’s editor allegedly banned any mention of them in their magazines during the 90s, Cardiacs found their home in the odd niche of highly challenging progressive rock with strong punk echoes. After losing all but two of the “classic” lineup in the early 90s culminating in the underrated but transitional album “Heaven Born and Ever Bright”, the Smith brothers Tim and Jim returned as a 4 piece rounded out by second guitarist Jon Poole and drummer Bob Leith to collect everything written in this period and release their double album opus: Sing to God.

Right from the off you know you’re in for an eclectic barrage of pure unadulterated Cardiacs patented chaos, with the into “Eden on the Air” slowly gearing up into “Eat It Up Worms Hero” with simple keyboards and unusual vocal effects to give it that demented twist, before the following track completely throws everything up in the air with heavy metal riffage combined with Queen-on-steroids vocal performances and stylistic shifts that would make Mike Patton proud (and likely played a key role in Patton’s musical development), and before you know it, the track’s over, with the first of several quirky interludes (which often provide hints as to what later tracks will sound like). Heavy metal is a new element to the Cardiacs sound, likely brought in by Tim and Jon’s spell in thrash band Panixphere in the very early 90s (some tracks from this album were originally written for said band, such as “Bell Stinks”, “Bell Clinks” and “Angelworm Angel”). As well as this, the Britpop boom of the mid 90s (which Cardiacs themselves influenced) has clearly affected the softer tracks, with “Bellyeye”, “Odd Even” and “Manhoo” sounding a lot like Blur in parts.

However, it’s when the band is at their most crazy and progressive where they’re truly in their element. “Dog-Like Sparky” and “Nurses Whispering Verses” (a re-recording of the “Toy World” classic) are magnificent in their own ways; “Nurses Whispering Verses” in particular adding an extra sense of urgency to the original and adding a whole new element to just lift it to pure majesty. Then there’s the track which can only really be bettered by “Is This The Life"” (from their debut album): “Fiery Gun Hand”. Tim Smith’s childish energy just breathes so much life into the track and the musical complexity, if anything, furthers its accessibility and appeal to those who appreciate this sort of music. The multi-faceted keyboard layers and twisted guitar solos from Poole and Smith combine to make this track pure perfection and the definitive Cardiacs song.

There is honestly no weakness to this album. There is a wide range of styles on display here with the album spinning off in all sorts of directions at unexpected times but it’s never ‘too much’ for the listener, with the softer tracks coming in at perfect times to provide a break after the chaos of Tim Smith let loose, and the closers on each disc do their part perfectly to end proceedings (“Wireless” being a simple (by Cardiacs standards) piece with a magnificent orchestral ending an “Foundling” bringing a suitable end to the double-album). The only complaint is that it’s impossible to properly talk about every track within a certain amount of text. There are so many tracks worth a full examination such as the beautiful and haunting “Dirty Boy”, the double whammy of “Bell Stinks”/“Bell Clinks” and “Billion”, allegedly the first song Tim Smith ever wrote. If you want to know about these tracks, I can only suggest that you check them out yourselves. Definitely one of the albums you must listen to before you die.

Top tracks: Fiery Gun Hand, Nurses Whispering Verses, every other track.



Recent reviews by this author
Mellevon CovetMachine Head Catharsis
Samael HegemonyDigital Nova Orphelins
BRATS (JP) Ainikoiyo / Nounai Shoukyo GamePowerflo Powerflo
user ratings (90)
Chart.
4.3
superb


Comments:Add a Comment 
DatsNotDaMetulz
December 6th 2014


3696 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Take note Devin Townsend: This is how you do a double album.

DatsNotDaMetulz
December 6th 2014


3696 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh and this was re-released recently on vinyl which may make it eligible for feature if it's good enough idk

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2014


6675 Comments


Deserved a review for sure

DatsNotDaMetulz
December 6th 2014


3696 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I was wondering why nobody had done it yet, then I started and realised why. There's too much to say about it which makes it REALLY hard to review without missing large chunks out which is what I had to do in the end. Dirty Boy deserves a bigger mention and I didn't even say anything about A Horse's Tail.

Jethro42
December 6th 2014


15550 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album definitely deserves more love here on sputnik.

Another highlight; Fairy Mary Mag with its soaring mellotron.

Excellent review. I might be able to bump up my rating down the road.

Friday13th
December 6th 2014


6560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I recall "Fiery Gun Hand" is a great song. I'll have to hear this again soon.

DatsNotDaMetulz
December 6th 2014


3696 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I also think Guns is good but massively underrated as it had to follow this album. Heaven Born and Ever Bright came after (well, during) the big split which left just Tim and Jim in the band and Jon Poole joined during the recording sessions for that album.

Mad.
December 7th 2014


4723 Comments


Need to listen to this band, good review pos'd

Cygnatti
December 7th 2014


32586 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty good album

Digging: Mid-Air Thief - Crumbling

zakalwe
December 7th 2014


25775 Comments


Saw these live in '95.
They were mental.

SmersH
December 7th 2014


447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So glad to see this with a review. I nabbed one of those reissue copies on vinyl and, oh lord, it is beautiful.

Judio!
December 7th 2014


8432 Comments


Damn, never heard of these guys before. Sweet review, will definitely get on checking this soon.

Digging: Aphex Twin - Collapse

CalculatingInfinity
December 8th 2014


8551 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Just checked out Bellyeye, I laughed then tried to sing along. I need to get into this band.

Veldin
April 2nd 2015


3559 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of the best albums of all time.

Mad.
June 13th 2015


4723 Comments


Another highlight; Fairy Mary Mag with its soaring mellotron [2]

These guys would be fucking crazy live if they could pull off the intensity they have here

It is quite a hard album to swallow in one go though

I also get the impression these guys might have influenced Electric Six...

zakalwe
June 13th 2015


25775 Comments


The influence of this band is far reaching they dont get the credit they deserve, more importantly it's done entirely on their terms.

Ninjask
June 13th 2015


493 Comments


I'm probs just ignorant on the matter but I'm not really seeing the influence, man. Great band, nonetheless.

zakalwe
June 13th 2015


25775 Comments


The Duck and Roger the Horse from the album on land and in the sea is basically the whole of Doolittle in a 4 min song.
Impossible to get in one listen, unbeatable by the fifth.

Ninjask
June 13th 2015


493 Comments


impressive, maybe a tad bit of a stretch, but i can definitely see what you're saying.

Mad.
June 13th 2015


4723 Comments


https://youtu.be/z8eBPMIs2XI

Defo some Cardiacs madness in here



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy