Lost Classics: Cardinal “Cardinal”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

Cardinal // Flydaddy, 1994

cardinal400bCardinal—the only full-length from Australian singer/songwriter Richard Davies and Portland, Ore., multi-instrumentalist/ arranger Eric Matthews—generated at least one review anointing it a “religious experience.” That’s a bit much, but credit Cardinal‘s 30-minute album with advancing the symphonic-pop movement of the mid-’90s that included Belle And Sebastian and Rufus Wainwright. Davies’ twee-time tales were decorated with various ornate finishes (horns, strings, layered harmonies), while Matthews’ lone vocal contribution (the hypnotic “Dream Figure”) emerged as the album’s signature track. Alas, ego clashes split the duo almost instantaneously, with the album eventually passing out of print until the Empyrean label reissued it in 2005 with demos, outtakes and a killer cover of Love’s “Willow Willow.”

Catching Up: Davies released three solo albums (including 1998’s excellent Telegraph); he has an album due in June with Robert Pollard. Matthews has issued six solo LPs, including last year’s The Imagination Stage. The two got back together last year to record a second Cardinal album, but things didn’t quite work out; read about it here.

“Silver Machines”:

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