A comment on a YouTube clip taken from Cardiacs’ Some Fairytales From The Rotten Shed DVD perhaps says it all. “Sounds like Gentle Giant snorted all the coke ever and then proceeded to pick a fight with Madness,” it reads, and you wouldn’t argue against it. The now-dormant band’s penchant for prog-punk peculiarity is showcased in fine form on this long-awaited release, which was originally filmed back in the 2000s during rehearsals for some London shows before frontman Tim Smith sadly fell ill. Despite the quartet being cooped-up in the smallest - and dingiest - practice space imaginable, there is a true sense of theatrical performance here, and not just in the music, which nods back to Cardiacs’ earlier material. The antsy Smith is an absorbing presence on the likes of the snaking As Cold As Can Be In An English Sea and Hello Mr. Minnow, both musically and also in his snarling looks and grumped-up, off-the-cuff snaps. Part musical genius, part oddball comedy, this DVD is well worth the wait. Even if stoically deadpan bassist Jim Smith does spend an age mid-flow trying to put his lead back into his guitar, fuzzy crackles ’n’ all, while only wearing underwear.
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