Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Genius Of... Tim Smith #4

#4: Don't You Ail, Flash The Sea To Steam by Spratleys Japs

In 1998, a curious album hit the shelves, a twisted little branch of the chaotic Cardiacs family tree. Tim Smith formed Spratleys Japs with Cardiacs collaborator Joanne Spratley sometime between between the 'Sing To God' and 'Guns' albums. They never gigged, but a sole album emerged entitled 'Pony' featuring Smith and Spratley as co-vocalists and a broken mellotron as one of the main instruments.

Musically though there's no mistaking the chief protagonist. 'Pony' had Tim Smith's maniacal influence all over it. Key changes from out of nowhere; all kinds of time signatures in a single track; lyrics no one can make head nor tail of - yep, all the essential ingredients present and correct. There are even those who proclaim Don't You Ail... to be the best Cardiacs song not done by Cardiacs. It certainly has the feel of the sound Cardiacs were adopting around that time.

As for the rest of the album, well it kind of sits quietly in the background among the Cardiacs discography, though it has long been a secret fan favourite. Definitely worth seeking out if you haven't heard it.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed that this LP is definitely a hidden treasure in the extended Cardiacs discography. It is a less frantic album than the Cardiacs, but no less wonderful. I think the last couple of minutes of 'Oh' are fantastic. 'Dont you ail...' does stand out sonically from the rest of the album, as well as being the only track with a title of more than one word. I wonder why?