Cardinal [Expanded]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
The sole album from the Richard Davies/Eric Matthews pairing achieved something close to legend status in a few short years, at least among those taken by the fusion of guitar pop with orchestrations. Although the combination isn't that groundbreaking to begin with -- everyone from the Left Banke to Burt Bacharach had already tried something similar 30 years previous, for a start -- Cardinal is still definitely enjoyable while not, in fact, being greater than the sum of its parts. While Matthews is a brilliant arranger, playing everything from harpsichord to trumpet and marimba, it's Davies' songs that carry the day, which a cursory review of Matthews' solo work versus ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
The sole album from the Richard Davies/Eric Matthews pairing achieved something close to legend status in a few short years, at least among those taken by the fusion of guitar pop with orchestrations. Although the combination isn't that groundbreaking to begin with -- everyone from the Left Banke to Burt Bacharach had already tried something similar 30 years previous, for a start -- Cardinal is still definitely enjoyable while not, in fact, being greater than the sum of its parts. While Matthews is a brilliant arranger, playing everything from harpsichord to trumpet and marimba, it's Davies' songs that carry the day, which a cursory review of Matthews' solo work versus Davies' makes clear. Regardless, together the two did achieve unexpectedly sharp heights. The recruited backing band, including, of all people, drummer/co-producer Thee Slayer Hippy from Portland punk legends Poison Idea, keeps everything moving well enough, while the two chief figures happily eschew the prevailing grunge fallout of 1994 for something else entirely. Davies' quietly impassioned, slightly dry singing avoids both whispery vagueness and trying to sweat too much, perfectly matched by Matthews' fun, killer interpretations. Matthews gets moments of slightly lugubrious and breathy lead singing at points, most notably on his own solo composition "Dream Figure," while the duet with Davies on "You're Lost Me There" is enjoyably low-key and mysterious. While Davies' lyrics are generally clever enough, they're also easy to avoid concentrating on in favor of the experience as a whole. Full-on cult appeal arrives in the form of "Singing to the Sunshine," a cut from the self-titled album by the late-'60s group Mortimer. Other strong numbers include the clever time signature shifts throughout "Tough Guy Tactics" and the closing drama of "Silver Machines." [A 2005 reissue on Empyrean completely remastered the original album and doubled the length of the program, adding four demos, a B-side, and five previously unreleased songs.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/7/2005
  • Label: Empyrean Records
  • UPC: 803645000929
  • Catalog Number: 9

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Cardinal Primary Artist
Richard Davies Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Tony Lash Percussion, Drums
Eric Matthews Organ, Bass, Flute, Guitar, Piano, Trumpet, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Harpsichord, Marimbas, Vocals, Group Member
Bob Fay Drums, Vocals, Group Member
Thee Slayer Hippy Drums
Wes Matthews Piano
Tandy Sturgeon Trombone
Two Ghosts Quintet Strings
Steve Hanford Drums
Technical Credits
Richard Davies Engineer, Liner Notes
John Golden Mastering
Tony Lash Producer, Engineer, Mastering, Remastering
Arthur Lee Composer
Eric Matthews Engineer, Liner Notes, Orchestration, String Arrangements
Cardinal Composer
Eric Masunaga Engineer
Thee Slayer Hippy Producer
Noa Azoulay Reissue Design
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