It’s nice this duo can afford to put out an album every 18 years—that means their third record should hit in 2030. Considering that schedule, this review that comes six months after the release of Hymns is super timely! My snarkiness belies my feelings for this band and record. This is pop just like I like it. It’s definitely comfort music for me considering I geeked out on my parents’ Bee Gees records as a kid (I understand this makes me completely uncool; I’m cool with that). The tracks here are two of the more rocking songs on the album. Don’t let that scare you away. Getting these two purveyors of baroque chamber pop together on record is a rare occurrence and should be savored and appreciated like an eclipse or comet.
For a little history of Cardinal, Richard Davies used to be in a band called The Moles back in the ’80s down in his native Australia. He joined with Eric Matthews here in the states for their self-titled debut, but they split soon after and continued with their own solo efforts. Matthews put out a record on Sub Pop back in ’95 and the opening song “Fanfare” remains one of my favorite songs of that decade. Davies put out at least three solo records and was backed by The Flaming Lips on tour for his first. Davies does vocal duties on most of the songs, but I prefer Eric Matthews’ deeper delivery (“Her”). Though the two together are pretty much magic (“Carbolic Smoke Ball”).