Cardinal - Cardinal
Cardinal’s story of sharply peaked levels of popular interest is familiar to anyone who was thoroughly disillusioned with the grunge movement by 1994, and needed something different. Singer/songwriters Richard Davies (of previous Moles fame) and Eric Matthews came together in the early ‘90s, and in 1994 released their sole self-titled album, a cabinet of redone ‘60s guitar chamber pop, mixed with some touches of modern indie-pop. Treasured by the underground of indie – especially those who appreciate the combination of thoughtful guitar instrumentals and orchestral support – Cardinal fell apart soon after their only release due to internal conflicts between Davies and Matthews. Both Davies and Matthews’ vocals on the release are bittersweet, evoking images of musical pioneers playing upon brightly colored stages—pumping their images and music into the homes of millions ‘60s families. Tracks like “If You Believe in Christmas Trees” and “You’ve Lost Me There” are silently brilliant and sound not one decade old, but four. Davies’ songs (which include both previously mentioned) are indeed more thoughtful in comparison to Matthews’ “Dream Figure,” which moves relatively slowly and awkwardly (think the worst Foo Fighters song you’ve ever heard) compared to “Big Mink” by Davies.
For those have been sitting on these 10 songs for over a decade now – and those whose ears devour “Silver Machines” and demand more – this 2005 re-release of Cardinal includes 11 bonus tracks. Included are original demos of favorite tracks like “If You Believe in Christmas Trees” and “You’ve Lost Me There,” both of which sound rawer and as a result more powerful than the album versions. Also included are a few unreleased tracks (including the rousing B-side “Say the Words Impossible”), most of which were written by Davies, and again show the true depth of his songwriting ability. A special treat to Cardinal fans old and new, these 11 tracks shed some much needed light into the creative processes of a power-combination whose full potential was only partly realized.
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