Making a career of being radically experimental is tough. Any guitar band off the deep end of the avant-garde has recourse to noise rock and its many sub/sister genres, but outside of that, recording album after album of wildly experimental tracks, let alone coherent ones, isn’t easy. For this reason bands like Cardiacs are rightly revered, and on this, their 18th album, Chicago’s Cheer-Accident show that Tim Smith’s group do not hold a monopoly.
Sprawling opener Language Is masquerades as downtempo indie rock with some jazzy tendencies before degenerating into looped white noise, much like some of Steven Wilson’s early solo sketches. Immanence is an almost St Vincent-like fusion number, while the stop-start percussion and synthesiser driven second half of Falling World is strangely catchy. Album highlight Lifetime Guarantee offers something more recognisably rocky, even evoking early Yes. Angular synthesiser is offset by groove-driven rhythmic strangeness and offset by melodic vocals. The Krautrock-y final section, immediately following a vocal break that reaches Knifeworld levels of excess, is a peak, and a satisfying conclusion to a highly eccentric song.