Friday, 6 November 2015

50 albums to take to my grave #29: A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window

Just the mere thought of having to justify this album's inclusion in my coffin collection is ludicrous. I mean, you all know how much I worship Mr. Tim Smith. The only question you may have is: Why 'A Little Man...' over the epic 'Sing To God'? Well, it's simply because it is the one I heard first, the record that got me hooked on Cardiacs.

I suppose this is the band's most accessible album, but it can't really be described as 'accessible'; it is a Cardiacs album, after all. It is loaded with good tunes though. Some of them were already familiar to longer-term fans. Three songs - Is This The Life, R.E.S. and A Little Man And A House - had all appeared on the band's previous album 'The Seaside', and Icing On The World had been in the band's live set for a couple of years. The versions that appeared on 'A Little Man And A House' were what I consider to be the definitive ones. This was their best album in terms of sound quality and production (even if the mastering was slightly off). It was also their most consistent collection of songs.

This was Cardiacs - or at least the so-called classic line-up - at their finest. Equally chaotic and ordered, meaningful and nonsensical, funny and sad. Cardiacs, intentionally or otherwise, mastered the art of contradiction, marrying more ideas in a single song than most artists ever dream up in their entire careers. This is the record where it all seemed to come together. There are fans who don't like it, seeing it as a safe, almost commercial record. That's complete rubbish of course, but it was the first Cardiacs record that seemed to make some kind of sense. It hangs together well as a whole and it's a lot of fun. Lots of people would probably hate it more than the guy at the NME who reviewed it when it came out (though I strongly suspect he was just following the edict of the rag at the time which forbade anything remotely positive to be written about Cardiacs). I don't care for those people (well, except MrsRobster).

It's unfair to pick out certain tunes to represent the album, but I've already posted articles on Is This The Life and In A City Lining, so I've gone for a couple of different selections. But for full effect, you really have to have the whole thing.


  1. a veritable cardiac cornucopia of delights. Absolutely toptastic.

  2. A man of taste I see. Brilliant band, good call :)