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12" LP

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18 years after the release of their landmark self-titled debut, Cardinal -- the recording collaboration between Richard Davies and Eric Matthews -- are preparing to unveil their long awaited new album. The new record, entitled Hymns, picks up where their debut left off -- well-crafted, layered orchestral pop, with Matthews' multi-instrumental talents enhancing Davies' sublime songwriting gems. Hymns comprises ten new originals, another milestone in the band's quest to provide the missing link in chamber pop history, following the Beatles and Bee Gees and before Belle & Sebastian, and a worthy follow up to their self-titled debut, a record lauded then, and now, as one of the most important albums of the 90s. Ushering in an era of appreciation for the orchestrated pop music the 1960s, with a modern approach, Cardinal's debut opus, originally released in 1994, seemed to come out of nowhere with it's layered textures and delightful melodies, swimming against the tidal wave of grunge


Cardinal fans had long given up on hearing another album from Richard Davies and Eric Matthews, whose partnership dissolved in acrimony after a single LP -- but did lead to a couple of charming solo albums from each. Then, no less than 17 years later, the duo quickly and quietly pumped out a sophomore follow-up, Hymns. If the intended result for fans is just hearing the combination of Davies' arch lyrics with Matthews' majestic arrangements and occasional breathy backing vocals, then it's mission accomplished. And there's certainly a bevy of baroque touches, including Matthews' trumpet, harpsichord, and timpani on the instrumental "Surviving Paris." Davies' beautiful "Kal" nears the quality of their peak, thanks to Matthews' heart-tugging arrangement, as does the opener, "Northern Soul." But elsewhere it's clear that this is not the equal of Cardinal's past; the duo reach a denouement of sorts on "General Hospital," turgid and murky where the self-titled Cardinal album was angelic and clear. The few Cardinal fans who might still be interested in the band should definitely have been careful what they wished for, but to be honest, just hearing Davies and Matthews together counts for something special

Additional Information

Artist Cardinal
Track Listing 1 Northern Soul - 2:46 2 Carbolic Smoke Ball - 3:29 3 Her - 3:13 4 Love Like Rain - 3:18 5 General Hospital - 4:10 6 Kal - 4:54 7 I Am a Roman Gypsy - 2:56 8 Rosemary Livingstone - 3:47 9 Surviving Paris [Instrumental] - 3:30 10 Radio Birdman - 4:00

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