Almost everyone who tries to sound like The Beatles gets it wrong. They aim for simple, sing-song melodies, and forget about the richly-layered, teetering-on-the-brink-of-total-insanity Wall Of Sound that typified The Beatles at their best. Cardiacs can pull it off as easily as breathe.
Sure, I mention Cardiacs a lot, partly in anticipation of the forthcoming tribute album, and partly because not enough people have yet realised how much they need Cardiacs in their lives.
Sing To God was the double album that should have been to Cardiacs what Dirty was to Sonic Youth. They wouldn’t have been huge – we have to take our miracles where we find them (Tim still breathes, thank God!) – but they should have been bigger than they were. These songs, whatever you might have been led to believe, are very easy on the ears.
Perhaps that’s Sing To God’s problem: the first two tracks are … difficult. They’re noisy and cacophonous in a way that made me feel on first listen that, for the first time in Cardiacs’ 33-year career, they’d made an album I plain didn’t like. Then Dog-Like Sparky bounds along like an adorable puppy and we’re back to why this planet needs Cardiacs like it needs nitrogen.
Sing To God is English psychedelic guitar pop. That’s a simple enough idea, but in its execution, it’s breathtaking. This is Sgt Pepper and The Kinks and Syd Barrett sipping tea at Grantchester Meadows – channelling each while avoiding pastiche and the usual trappings. If early Blur were Cardiacs-influenced, here Cardiacs return the favour with a guitar sound that’s distinctively and entirely Graham Coxon’s.