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Cardiacs - The Seaside

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 5 / 2 / 2016

Cardiacs - The Seaside
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In our 'Re:View' section, in which our writers look back at albums from the past, Adrian Huggins finds far ahead of its time experimental act Cardiacs' 1984 album 'The Seaside', which has just been re-released in a remastered edition

Kingston upon Thames avant-garde act Cardiacs have re-released their third album, 1984's ‘The Seaside’, in a remastered edition. If you already know them, you will know what to expect. If not, I suggest putting on a helmet and closing the curtains before embarking on what will no doubt be an unforgettable and very enjoyable trip. At times listening to Cardiacs is like experiencing a Madness gig on acid or a Victorian version of heavy metal. They cram so much in without it ever feeling like overkill. One similarity that this particular reviewer could not get past is that of Mr Bungle who suddenly seem much less original after listening to ‘The Seaside’, Mr Bungle were formed about six plus years after this album's first release. So, for any Mr Bungle fans who have like me got this far without exploring Cardiacs fully, you are in for a treat. There are a lot of different musical styles woven skilfully into Cardiacs music. Ska, rock, metal, post punk, post grunge...before there was even grunge, are all in there somewhere, and they pull it off perfectly. There are some great prog moments in there as well, and some epic solo-ing on 'Is This The Life?' which verges on the metal spectrum. The band are remarkably tight bearing in mind all the twists and turns, pace changes and tangents that seem to all be given a good airing. It is evident that at no point the words "No, that would be too much" were muttered, thank god. Free musical reign. Tracks like 'Gena Lolla Brigida', 'A Wooden Fish On Wheels' and 'Dinner Time' sound fresh and lively. They are brimming with ska energy, and it sounds very much that the re-mastering has done a sterling job of bringing up the lower end to give the songs a proper punchiness. 'Nurses Whispering Verses' and 'Hello My Sparrow' would be my suggested listens if an off-the- wall ska-meets-world sound takes your fancy. Cardiacs are a band that many people will not get or will find too much. To say they were ahead of their time is a huge understatement. I do find it genuinely mind-boggling and exciting that this album is over thirty years old. Its other appeal is that for all its unorthodox song writing 'The Seaside' isn't a difficult listen. You don't have to take time to get used to it. They manage to construct everything perfectly. There are no disjointed elements at all. There are surprises, but it never feels like the person in the control room fell asleep on and missed half a song before waking up and pressing record in the middle of a completely different track, which can happen with this sort of free flowing and unhinged music.

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Cardiacs - The Seaside

Cardiacs - The Seaside

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