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On Land and In the Sea


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Album Review

The Cardiacs didn't make it easy to like their second album, too happy to let their whirligig of shattered atonal pop come apart at its seams. The band's technique for hoisting a radical thrill out of audience discomfort was pushed to extremes ("Fast Robert," "Baby Heart Dirt") and it suddenly felt forced and phony, like a poor Dadaist trying to make do in a world of Starter jackets and Technotronic. Great for those who liked staticy hip-hop, piercing keyboards, Long Ranger harmonicas, and the sound of a tape deck being clicked off, less so for those who didn't.


Formed: 1978

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Combining the D.I.Y.-attitude of the early punk years with an affection for progressive rock acts such as Gong and Gentle Giant, the U.K. act the Cardiacs formed in late 1977 by Tim Smith, who quickly enlisted brother Jim Smith to join the fledgling outfit. The alleged fact that Jim couldn't play an instrument mattered little and the band took the moniker Cardiac Arrest. Their first actual release was a single, "A Bus for a Bus on the Bus," in 1979, which they followed with a full-length cassette...
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On Land and In the Sea, Cardiacs
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