On Land and in the Sea

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The Cardiacs didn't make it easy to like their second album, too happy to let their whirligig of shattered atonal pop come apart at its seams. The band's technique for hoisting a radical thrill out of audience discomfort was pushed to extremes ("Fast Robert," "Baby Heart Dirt") and it suddenly felt forced and phony, like a poor Dadaist trying to make do in a world of Starter jackets and Technotronic. Great for those who liked staticy hip-hop, piercing keyboards, Long Ranger harmonicas, and the sound of a tape deck being clicked off, less so for those who didn't.

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