Some people rate Sing To God as one of Cardiacs’ very greatest albums, and who are we to disagree? It is certainly a potent proposition, being a nearly 90 minute long double album, crammed with eclectic material: really it feels like the band is throwing everything into the mix, and yet almost all of it sticks! Big and lovely double LP reissue from the Alphabet Business Concern.
Double LP £34.99
Heavyweight vinyl reissue 2LP on The Alphabet Business Concern.
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You would have thought that by the time of Sing to God, a band like the Cardiacs would be slowing down somewhat. They'd been making their brand of rollercoaster ride psych pop/prog since 1977. It was now 1996 and surely they were just a bit tired? Well, if they were then then they managed to scrape together one last bit of energy to make a double album one hour twenty eight minute punk prog opus before they conked out. The band had already gone through their most popular period in the 1980s when they'd twirled round and round stages and making improbably complex albums. By Sing to God they'd lost all their bells and whistles and gone to a standard rock 4 piece. No saxophones.
As the years go by though I'm starting to think that Sing to God was their finest moment. They are so muscular. This is noisy, noisy music and less twee and fey than their earlier more theatrical incarnation. Tim Smith's voice has got pretty darn gritty by this point.
So how to describe it to anyone who hasn't heard such lunacy? Blur gone feral? The Buzzcocks playing early Genesis? Madness on a rollercoaster? It's seasick pop punk showing previously unscaled ambition. It contains two of the moments when they sound disturbingly like a normal band. Both 'Manhoo' and 'Odd Even' in a perfect world would have battled to the top of the charts during a Brit-pop era when it was sort of ok to be a bit 60s ish and psychedelic but like their earlier 'Is This Life' single any new fans they might gain as a result would scatter about 50 seconds in to this sprawling insanity.
It's hard work and tires me out and in 20 odd years of listening to it I've never quite got to the end but this is a breathtaking album. Take it in small chunks and you'll be fine. There will be nothing like this ever again. Promise.
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