Friday, 28 August 2015

The Cardiacs - "Toy World" (Self-released C-60) 1981

More 'Pronk', or more accurately , more Post-Punk in a style originated by XTC and Talking Heads. Nevertheless a rather interesting,well constructed tour around various rock time signatures ,littered with a smattering of dysfunctional melodies.
I am informed that The Cardiacs actually got in the charts once in the mid-eighties(1988),with a polished up version of track 4 on side B, "Is This The Life?"; and what a stadium anthem it is too. I could just imagine Bono's mullet and pixie boots doing a fairy dance on the monitors while The Edge chopped out these er....anthemic chords, at Live Aid. But, alas no, we got "I Will Follow",which was around,strangely at the same time as this monster.The difference being that U2 are now wanted for crimes against humanity and The Cardiacs are forgotten. Another glaring difference is that the Cardiacs did a good line in Spazz dancing, whereas,we all know what kind of abysmal pixie dance Boner used to do during 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' bypass = success apparently. 

Message to Cardiacs obsessives;
I'm saying that I think The Cardiacs are quite GOOD, and not implying that they are a poor man's U2,and are probably at least the equals of XTC. So no trolling plz?
(Aww that nasty man didn't like my favourite pop/pronk group!?)


A2Over (Outtake)
A3Icky Qualms
A4Over + Over + Over + Over
A5Dead Mouse
A6A Big Noise In A Toy World
B1Scratching Crawling Scrawling
B2As Cold As Can Be In An English Sea
B3...Verses (Outtake)
B4Is This The Life?
B5Nurses Whispering Verses
B6A Time For Rejoicing

DOWNLOAD the joy of a toy HERE!


ROOKSBY said...

I've never had much time for The Cardiacs so the similarities to XTC never occurred to me before - but you're right, listening to this they're like a Moulding fan's nightmare vision of XTC, i.e. "staccato Partridge overload"! :)

Jonny Zchivago said...

Me niether,only post knock on the head.But be careful,their fans can get quite defensive of any slight criticism.

rev.b - NOT said...

So I'm told. Hey, I like XTC just fine, tho' Andy's barking seal vocals can annoy sometimes. Oops, that wasn't me who said that!

Jreeves said...

I've never understood the hostility some people have toward the Cardiacs. To me, they sound just about as "British" as you can get, sort of like Gilbert and Sullivan on amphetamines. Thanks for posting this item. This is one of the few remaining pieces of Cardiaciana not in my collection.

icastico said...

Here ya go then...for comparison/research purposes.

pinkie said...

Jonny - You'll already have irked any Pondie-pedants by using the 'The' word in front of Cardiacs...and the apostrophe between the 'c' and the 's' (in the previous post) will also annoy the grammar nazis (of which I can fairly safely say there are many) among them so GOOD JOB! I love this blog even more than I did before :)

Jonny Zchivago said...

Never been a fan of groups monikers appearing without 'The' in the front ever since Virgin insisted that The Ruts were to be called just 'Ruts'. Its 'The' Cardiacs, just like The Pink Floyd before they lost Barratt and turned crap.

Jonny Zchivago said...

XTC in 1978:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jonny!

pinkie said...

Cheers both for the XTC ♫ 'Ruts'? Nah, we ain't having that! Quite right! Apart from Ruts DC natch ;-)

Jonny Zchivago said...

i suppose we can't have The XTC can we? Another virgin act that got a 'The'ectomy on record labels/sleeves were THE Skids...who became just Skids! Record companies are and always will be the biggest bunch of cly=ueless twats ever to stalk the earth!.....epecially Branson.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Jreeves - Maybe even Gilbert O'sullivan on crystal meth? Can't get more British than that. I can certainly understand the hosilty towards 'Cardiacs' gotta admit their stage antics,vocals and changey changey musical stylee could be slightly irritating?

pinkie said...

Cardiacs have never released anything as'The Cardiacs' - they may have mistakenly been advertised as such on gig posters as far as I know, or the odd bootleg. Anyway, I've never been sniffy about it.
The NME went from championing the early stuff to turning against them quite brutally, even going as far as the paper having a 'Cardiacs BAN'!
I've always a fan of their music, but even I was unprepared for the religious fervour of some of the people on the facebook group I joined.
They've been through a number of personnel changes over the years, and I s'pose everyone has a favourite period. It's Tim Smith's songwriting genius that has always made them stand out, and the musicianship has always been fantastic. Quintessentially British I'd say :)

Jonny Zchivago said...

Yes,some 'Fans' of alternative groups are the equivalents of those girlies who topped themselves after Robbie Williams left Take That.
As for the NME,never been a fan...was always a Sounds man...they had a better DIY corner.

jreeves said...

" . . .you gotta admit their stage antics,vocals and changey changey musical stylee could be slightly irritating?"

Actually, no, that was all part of the fun, trying to see if you're half as clever as they are by trying to guess what they're going to do next.

And I favor quirky bands, anyway, the quirkier the better.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Horses for courses.
Too much like art showbiz for me.

pinkie said...

Agreed about Sounds magazine...and Melody Maker was a breath of fresh air sometimes too. I think NME started going downhill as early as the end of the '70s. Always makes me grin thinking of how they buried their heads in the sand when the tide turned r.e. punk/DiY. Too in thrall to their rockstar mates haha.
One band I really loved in the early '90s was Levitation, Terry Bickers' post-House Of Love project, the Cardiacs connection being Bic Hayes on guitar. Great band...sadly imploded before releasing the second LP. Happy to say it's finally released this October. 'Meanwhile Gardens', it's called. Bic now fronts a group called ZOFFF.
Really enjoying these tapes btw - cheers.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Not to mention the unfortunate flirtation with that "New Pop" shite! Wasn't Punk and New Wave new pop anyway?
Unfortunately i lost faith in rock in the nineties(an affliction that is still with me today),and missed out on Leviathon. I had an mate in Leicester whose whole Raison d'etre was the fact that his band supported The House Of Love at their leicester gig......a real don't mention the war this case, don't mention music.

Jonny Zchivago said...

ps, sorry, Levitation, not Leviathon!(weren't they a new prog band in the 80's?)

pinkie said...

Ha! Yes, Levitation definitely got the 'prog' tag attached to them but took it in good humour and as a compliment. Terry Bickers' main influences at the time were Magazine and early PiL as much as anything else, and the songwriting of Bob White took them in other directions altogether. They were described at one time as "a conspiracy of five" which is about right because although Bickers was the clear leader of the group no one else was excluded from that creative process, so you have Terry's chiming, chords combined with Bic's ingenuity and bank of effects pedals without either of them resorting to power chords, resulting in a sort of orchestral effect. The bass player was very dub-influenced and the drummer just brilliant with the off-beat as well as having a lot of power. I think if Meanwhile Gardens had been released at the time it would have had a major impact.
The 90s was lost on me too as far as most rock bands went, with a few exceptions thankfully, Levitation in particular.

the saucer people said...

Bloody hell fire, kudos to your near fatal brain injury for lighting up the comments section! Though I'm sure some The Cardiacs fans will take exception to the fact it took extreme head trauma to activate the part of the brain that can really appreciate them.

As much as I began to hate NME readers as I got older, I have got to give it some credit for opening up a whole world of literature and art to me when I was in my formative years (weirdly, I can even remember the first one I bought with my paper-round money as the local newsagents didn't have it and I had to bike 5 miles to buy one - think it had The Selector on the front if my addled memory is correct.

I stopped buying it weekly around 85/86 but credit where credit is due - their early-mid 80s pretentiousness and need for snobbish obscurity did mean you heard about some great bands, especially from America and Germany. I even got into American Go-Go music and early house music via its pages, though I appreciate that won't be seen as a positive thing by most on here!

But, yes, Sounds was far better over-all aside from scab-journalist Bushell of course (decades later, I still hear the Cockney Rejects' song Oi! Oi! Oi! every time I speak his name) - and as I'm Yorkshire born, I have got to credit Savage Pencil/Edwin Pouncey for his formative influence on me.

PS> I have a complete ignorance of nineties rock/indie music, so you're not alone - actually, you can add the 2000s and 2010's to that and from the little I have heard, I don't think I missed out on much to be honest.

Jonny Zchivago said...

The NME did influence my writing style by the reviews that never mentioned the band,the album ,song titles or music.This concept interested me.
Sounds seemed to veer further left-field musically; apart from Bushells streetpunk/oi shit of course.Yes Edwin Pouncey was the main driving force behind this,and Dave Henderson brought the industrial underground to the fore around 81/82....barely touched on in the NME.
(The) Cardiacs, have now left my playlist once more.They are a bit irritating,but I do have new found trauma must have healed,but i've still got black areas in my memory circuits.

the saucer people said...

Dave Henderson! I knew there was someone else at Sounds, aside from Savage Pencil, who had a real influence on my musical tastes (Peel goes without saying obviously). Yes, Wild Planet! The name alone takes me back to 50p postal orders, soaping stamps, reusing envelopes for the 23rd time and haunting Dixons and Currys for any multi-pack TDK offers!

Just 'dogpiled' 'Dave Henderson and Wild Planet' and found this, an A-Z of artist 'reviews' - the entire readership of this blog probably knows about it already, but just in case

Yes, brain trauma is a strange thing indeed: some people mistake their wife for a hat and others mistake The Cardiacs for a.... (better just stop there I think, for the good of the comments section).

Anyway, blankety-black areas in your memory aside, it is really good to hear you are on the mend and the LAFMS posts suggest no damage whatsoever to your taste circuits.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Just had a scan of that wild planet link.....alll great stuff indeed. I do remember singling out Holy Toy after reading that.It says they were Dutch....i'm sure they were Polish; they sang in Polish,had polish subject matter,even calling there first LP "warszawa".....yep...they were Polish alright. Very doomy iron curtain cold wave-ish doom pop. I may post their complete works.Or is this evidence that my taste circuits are irreparably damaged?

Johnny Tunes said...

It's a shame that irritating is what you get from the Cardiacs. I love them. I love the fact that they are prog, punk, pop, psychedelic and one unholy well-ordered mess. Few bands make me smile like they do. Fuck reviews, and fuck the music press. The Cardiacs seemed to try to be different with very little effort. Live they were outstanding and few bands could meet their energy with anything but pose. They could terrify, amuse, freak out and enthrall their audience. Their lyrics may be nonsense to many; they could also be impenetrable. The occasional phrase or sentence that said everything, stashed inside a mentalist's cake. I miss them.

This is my opinion. I am biased.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Well Johnny, i do still play their Cardiac arrest tape from time to time. It seemed to me that they were trying too hard,and knew what they were doing. Two aspects that turn me off a group.
But, they ain't as irritating as I make out.....gotta have some drama to light up a debate aincha?
Thanks for the comment, i just read all the other comments from a year ago.I forgot there were so many....truly a controvertial subject is Cardiacs? Very interesting re-reading 'em.

Shayne O said...

In fairness the "Cardiac Arrest" tape was a pretty young version of the band, when it was still young fellas trying to figure out if they where a prog or punk band (short answer: neither). Im not a huge fan of their earliest stuff, but they got older and by the time Sing to god arived they had turned into something quite spectacular.

Jonny Zchivago said...

As fan of bands that don't really know what they're doing, I of course prefer early Cardiacs. Later cardiacs are far too knowing for me.I like the unexpected and accidental,having said that I do Like the Diagram Brothers and XTC....very similar to cardiacs in general proggyness.Just a question of personal taste i assume.If i hadn't have seen the Cardiacs I probably would like them too.