MP3 Glenn Cardier - House Of Mirrors
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Cardier's latest 4-star rated release.
10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Acoustic, FOLK: Power-folk
Sunday Herald Sun/ Feb 20 2005
'House Of Mirrors'
In short: Razor sharp, state of the art and cut to size
Those with long memories might remember Cardier from the flowering of Australian singer-songwriters in the '70s. The more astute may have even noted his return via an interesting album of a few years back.
On this new release Glenn doesn't need such nostalgia. He is a man firmly embracing the new millennium with astounding electronically generated rhythmic bursts. A collage of keyboards and guitars mix with his biting vocal delivery and offbeat lyrics.
Think John Hiatt or Captain Beefheart taken to the cutting edge. This is a triumphant, completely solo project deserving a bigger audience. But Cardier is near media-invisible.
Lucky for him it is a worldwide wilderness punctuated by safer harbours negotiable with the new media we have at our fingertips.
Sound bites online from this 10 original song CD should find the audience he so richly deserves.
House of Mirrors
Date of Review: Friday, 3 December 2004
The gruff and gravely voice of Glenn Cardier is back, with the follow-up to his critically acclaimed come back album 'Rattle the Cage'.
Rattled it was, and fans have been waiting for his next release ever since... here it is "House of Mirrors" and it's accompanied by his wry humour and raging guitar.
Talk with strangers, Meet Elvis at the checkout, and Dance around a House of Mirrors this week with Glenn Cardier.
Enjoy it, it's our feature album on 105.7 ABC Darwin and 783 Alice Springs this week.
House of Mirrors - Glenn Cardier (Fantastique Productions)
Review by Bernie Howitt
Available through https://www.tradebit.com
This is the second release of Glenn Cardier's most welcome "comeback", and I think it's the best Australian release of the past twelve months. It has a wonderful coherence as it blends the themes of reflection and freedom, underpinned by a voice that travels from a gloriously gravelly blues to the most heart effecting tenderness, often within the same song.
The opening track, "Water Finds Its Own Level" rumbles along, revelling in the witty wordplay that is such a strength of Cardier's work. It sounds half Mississippi, half Murray River blues, with Cardier's gritty guitar work providing the necessary drive to reach the truly brilliant question/response he has with a hellfire preacher who asks, "has salvation occurred to you? It's time to choose between the Lord and the Devil." Cardier's reply "I have trouble even choosin' my clothes" sets up the entire album.
The rough-hewn gives way to lace thin delicacy with "Strangers". The album moves between fast and slow, tough and delicate throughout, and "Strangers" introduces Cardier's softer side. Two songs in and you've discovered the schizophrenia that makes Cardier impossible to market but so easy to love. This is an old black and white movie wrapped in acoustic guitar, shimmering like a far away love.
"Wild In the Summertime" is so distinctly Australian with the way it captures a sense of the open road, freedom and space. It's an Australian summer put to music. Lyrically it is intelligent adult music, relying not on bland nostalgia, but on an understanding of the impulse to never want to quite relinquish those days of strength, grace and beauty. If there is any justice in the world, this should be blaring out of every car stereo on the Pacific Highway heading north for a summer rendezvous with hope.
Cardier's Elvis fascination shone through on "House of Mirrors", and "Elvis At the Checkout" continues the theme with its wry and affectionate take on every fan's dreams. What would we say if we ran into Elvis? We all want to say thanks, and Cardier's refrain that "I miss the guy like crazy" encapsulates the feelings of an entire generation.
It's back to basics with "Asylum Blues" bursting through the speakers. The asylum is populated by characters like Mary and Henry, people we might even know, but treated with a warmth and affection that belies the pounding rhythm that Cardier drives as he moves to the key question, "how come it's so hard gettin' out when it's so easy gettin' in?" He could easily be speaking about life in all its manifestations, that his audience have undoubtedly experienced.
"Dancing the Years Away" reeks of a dusty, faintly remembered past. Its beauty is a lyric that recreates a bygone era without descending into a trite nostalgia. Instead it is a testament to the ability of humans to reflect and draw strength from what has gone before. There is a sense of the freedom that can be found in memories, but also recognition of just how fragile that freedom can be.
"Mr Happy" and his exploding cigars lift the mood again. Capturing the essential dilemma of the centre of attention comic who strives to entertain anyone while battling his own demons, it is truly profound.
"Free to Fly" is arguably the greatest song on a great album. This is life at its rawest, sung with an incredible tenderness. Cardier sings of dreams and hopes, the slippery slope of life, but caches it in the undying optimism of hope. He concludes that we are "free to fly, free to be whatever we want to be, we're free to fly in our wildest dreams." There is incredible sensitivity and beauty in a song that should be an Australian classic.
The title track, "House of Mirrors" is darkly rollicking, as his protagonist is trapped in a life where every day seems a repetition of the day before. It lacks the quiet optimism of "Free to Fly", and links effectively in completing the trilogy of "Asylum Blues" and "Mr Happy".
"Come Back To Me" closes the album with its wistful reflection, bringing us full circle. Here's the guy who's been wild in the summertime, danced at the Cloudland, dreamed of finding once again, the perfect love of youth.
This is a very special album. It's adult music made by an artist with the experience, insight and talent to articulate the lives of adults reaching a stage of life where it isn't all "baby I love you". Life is about a quest for freedom, be it at work, in love or in lifestyle. We all travel that path, and in "House of Mirrors" Glenn Cardier has created the soundtrack for the journey. With its toe tapping blues, gloriously delicate acoustic ballads and intelligent lyrics it is the essential accompaniment to a thinking, feeling life. Track it down; it will repay you over and over again.
"A Follow-up That Won't Disappoint"
CD review by Danny Drew in 'Fresh' NT News
I can't help but feel there is a bit of Spike Milligan in Glenn Cardier's new album House Of Mirrors.
This new 10-track CD, containing all original material, journeys through moods of melancholy and joy, freedom and confinement and hope and despair. Track seven Mr Happy was even inspired by Milligan, a brilliant comic and one of the original Goons, whom Cardier toured with for six months in the 1980's.
Milligan was a man who felt the highs and lows, personally and professionally and there are certainly traces of that all through the House Of Mirrors CD.
Cardier has fond memories of Milligan saying: 'He was very gracious and very good to me.'
Of Mr Happy, Cardier said: 'The song is about humour and how it works on different levels.'
Notwithstanding any Milligan influence, House Of Mirrors has the trademark gravely voice, echoing somewhat of Tom Waits, and the lyrics are definitely signatures of Cardier.
The imagery of dance is also prominent through the album in songs of love lost, found or yearned for.
In the cover photo you can also see a reflection in Cardier's dark glasses of an elegant dancing couple.
House Of Mirrors also reflects Cardier's willingness to embrace electronica in his music with some thumping, bustling rhythms.
Cardier picks up the pace with the rollicking Wild In The Summertime, which has a happy-go-lucky, back-to-the-70's beat and Asylum Blues, which has a similar up-tempo rhythm, admittedly with a vastly different lyrical content.
This album is the second in the rebirth of this renowned guitarist, vocalist and writer.
Cardier's Territory fan base can take some of the credit for sparking his enthusiasm to tour and record on a wider scale.
His 2003 shows at the Groove in Nightcliff sold out and on that basis ABC Radio made his comeback Rattle The Cage their CD of the week.
It took off and the ABC was inundated with people wanting to know more about the CD.
Cardier's fans certainly won't be disappointed with his follow-up effort.
House Of Mirrors is an Elbow Room production.
All songs were written, performed and produced by Glenn Cardier.
Darwin fans can get a taste of Glenn Cardier's new material, as well as plenty of old favourites, when he performs live as a headline act at the Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival in May.
Cardier will perform at the Groove on Friday, May 6th.
Tickets cost $25. For bookings, phone 8948 2773.
Keeping Records - Glenn Cardier Still Upbeat
Last year, when I reviewed a "comeback" CD of Glenn Cardier's, I was enthusiastic
about his talents, his gravelly voice and his new direction.
Late last year he released another album, as a follow up and the results are just
This new CD continues Cardier's interest in upbeat, voodoo and New Orleans
rhythms, balanced with slow ballads and quirky, unusual themes.
An example of this latter material, is the centerpiece of the album, Elvis at the
Checkout, which tells the story of Cardier meeting Elvis Presley in a supermarket.
The track is a live favourite as Cardier relates his fascination with, and homage to,
I much prefer the upbeat songs - such as Water Finds it own Level, Wild in the
Summertime (with its great Hammond organ), the title track) but Cardier is much too
clever to record a whole album of similar material. His
experience as a live performer shows his ability at pacing a performance, mixing
faster tempo songs with slower material.
The slower songs here (Strangers, Dancing the Years Away, Come Back to me)
are perhaps better described as poems set to music, as Cardier forces the listener to
listen to the lyrics.
I also liked Asylum Blues, a blues shuffle, and the upbeat romp Mr Happy. I can't
work out who this song is about - a politician? A record company exec? A real
estate agent? A car salesman? - someone who promises the world but fails to
deliver the goods.
The title track features a male choir which is effective, but should be used more
often. Great voice, great production and arrangements, Great CD.
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