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All one really needs to know about this album can be gained from this quote from Emanuele Sterbini (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, axoloti, melodica, strings, synth, shaker, digital hand-claps), where he says “Everybody knows that ‘Sing to God’ by Cardiacs is the best album made by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Just the perfect blend of genius, song writing, goosebumps on an exhilarating giant scale.” Along with Dominique D'Avanzo (vocals, clarinet, flute (cleaned and distorted)) they comprise Sterbus, yet they have brought in many guests to help them out, including Bob Leith himself, the man behind the drumkit on that incredible album more than 20 years ago. Actually, the very first email I had from Emanuele was titled “That Italian Band with a Cardiacs Drummer”. Just in case you want a little tighter geography the album commences with Emanuele asking, “What have the Romans ever done for us”, and Dominique responding “Brought Sterbus”. So we have an Italian progressive rock band who are heavily influenced by Cardiacs, have their drummer as one of the guests (as well as other musicians I admire such as Charlie Cawood (Lost Crowns, Knifeworld)) and they are also fans of Monty Python! On top of that this double disc release is in a digipak with a booklet containing all the lyrics, plus photos of everyone who was involved. So I had high hopes before this even hit the player, and I was so relieved when it was exactly what I was hoping for, namely a pronk album with a great amount of variety and styles which I fell in love with the very first time I played it. 17 songs, more than 70 minutes in length, this looks back to when Cardiacs were pushing boundaries as they bring in flute, clarinet, sax, sitar, glockenspiel, harmonica and so much more. Bob Leith even takes lead vocals on the final number, “Blackducks On Parade” (which is a bonus so isn’t listed on the CD), and it also contains sounds of vendors recorded by Ron Synovitz on the side lines of the Alphabet Business Convention on 28th August 2017, further cementing those Cardiacs links. Fans of Cardiacs know it is almost impossible to describe their style of music, but the term pronk has become associated with them, as they mixed punk and progressive rock together to create a style of music which has been a major influence on many bands such as Radiohead and Blur. Due to the medical condition of Tim Smith it is somewhat unlikely any new material by Cardiacs will ever be recorded, but here we have a band paying homage in the best way they know how, taking those influences and creating something new. It is incredible.
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