Saturday, July 25, 2015

Our Loyalty Demands...

Cardiacs - Is This the Life
Cardiacs - Dirty Boy
Cardiacs - There's Good Cud

I resuscitated this long dead blog for a number of reasons, and one of them was to post about bands that have been important to me in my life, but for one reason or another I never got around to writing about.
Cardiacs are one of those bands.

I, like the majority of people who weren't lucky enough to be aware of them earlier, first knowingly heard my first Cardiacs song in 1988 when their track 'Is This the Life' was released on 7" and the video was being shown quite a lot on the usual shows. It sounded wonderful, so I purchased it from my favourite record shop, running home in eagerness to play it, which I duly did, at full volume, several times in a row.
This must be my new favourite band I thought, until I flipped it over and played the b-side, 'I'm Eating In Bed'.... what the fuck is this??? demented circus prog??? Nope, this isn't for me at all.
I really didn't like it, so I flipped it over again to revel in the majesty of 'Is This the Life' again, and again, and again.
Several days later I was intrigued by the b-side, was it really as weird and unlikable as I remembered? I found myself remembering the changes and mad melodies, and feeling a bit of a rush as it all of a sudden fell into place, I played it again, and again. Thus I discovered one of my favourite bands.

Over the years I tracked down earlier releases and kept up to date with everything they released as new. I was hooked good and proper. Monstrous albums, killer singles, wonderful side projects and stunning live band. Sadly I only got to see them twice, much to my regret.

In 1995, Cardiacs released what to many fans (Pondies) is considered to be their crowning glory, 'Sing to God'.
There aren't really the words to describe how utterly wonderful this album is. It's a double album full of some of the most beautiful, if yet demented, music you could ever wish to hear.
Out of an album with so many killer tracks, it's hard to focus on just the one, but for me 'Dirty Boy' is the one I tend to play at people given half a chance.
It's nearly nine minutes of complete perfection, culminating in what I consider to be probably the finest two and a half minutes that have ever been committed to vinyl... It's simply breathtaking.

Their last release (to date) was 1999's album, 'Guns'. It's a beauty of an album, filled with more of the same wonderful mix of rock, prog, demented circus music and majesty that us Pondies came to expect, no, we demanded from each and every release.
I listen to this album slightly differently to the previous albums as it's a pointer to what could have been... I say could have been, but what I really mean is I hope for.....

This is the bit I really wasn't looking forward to writing, so I'm not going to dwell on it too much.....

In June 2008 after seeing My Bloody Valentine, on his way home Tim Smith collapsed from a heart attack followed by a major stroke.
There wasn't much news for about a year until on the Alphabet Business Concern (puppet masters and shady controlists, all hail the Consultant) website they posted this...

"Tim Smith's mind had returned to full functionality and that "no part of your favourite pop star’s intellect or personality has been found to be absent whatsoever."

For a lot more information on Tim's condition, the very best place to go is the Alphabet Business Concern website and have a read of the News Archives.

The following video was shot during rehearsals for the 2007 secret Bull & Gate shows, the results of which were released as "The Special Garage Concerts: Volumes I and II". 
Warning: It features Jim Smith (Tim's brother) in his under crackers.

Several more tracks were filmed, and it's my hope that one day they'll be available on DVD...

So, it's 2015 and things have been incredibly busy over at the Alphabet Business Concern website for the last year or so, there is a whole host of new merchandise to buy, and they've been very busy in making the albums available again, either on CD or top quality 180g vinyl.
So far they've re-released 'Sing to God' and 'Guns' on vinyl, with more to follow I'm sure.
Keep an eye open on their website or Facebook page for news and info, it's happening all the time.

Buy - Everything... Your loyalty demands
Visit - Cardiacs (Alphabet Business Concern)
Further Reading - Cardiacs, an Epic Overview by Mr. Spencer 


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for this article...I never knew that the proper term for a Cardiacs fan is a Pondie. I am really curious about the origin of the word!
Also, beautiful photos of Tim here.

I got infected with their music by my conservatory teacher Jos Zwaanenburg a couple of years ago. I had the luck to attend an ensemble class where the music of Frank Zappa and Tim Smith was being rehearsed. We studied Jibber and Twitch, the song you featured here.
Two years later Jos finally got the chance to meet Tim in person (it happened this year, after long planning). We recorded our silly little version of Jibber and Twitch so that it can be shown to Mr. Smith as an example of what Jos and the students do with his music in the Netherlands.

Already listening to that music is such a brain candy, let alone studying it! There is no way back from there. As you said, the more you listen to it and the more you memorise from the wicked psycho circus lines the more beautiful the experience gets. After the gazillionth round you realise that it IS in fact pop music. It is meant to be enjoyed.