Music / Cardiacs
L-R: Timmy, Bill, Sarah, JIM, Dom. At the back; Tim Q
You want a band that complains about Suburban Life? Come to Cardiacs. You want a band that combines Progressive Rock and Punk. Come to Cardiacs. You want a band that preempted the Emo genre by about 10 years? Come to Cardiacs.

Cardiacs are that perfect band you've been looking for all your life but couldn't find because they're so damn obscure. Frontman Tim Smith is pretty much the only songwriter of the band. However, older brother Jim Smith is as much of a key character as Tim, bassist, batter-head, bully-bait, he's been "there" since Tim was a baby. Then there's Sarah, Tim's wife, saxophonist, pre-Seaside synth player, skirt wearer supreme, she's been "there" too.

The lineup went through a series of changes, but through all of it Tim and Jim Smith remained. In 2008, Tim Smith had a stroke and cardiac arrest, leaving the band without a frontman. He's still around, but may never recover.

The Cardiac Arrest Lineup
  • Mick Pugh: Vox
  • Tim Smith: Guitar
  • Jim Smith: Bass
  • Colvin Mayers: Keyboards
  • Peter Tagg: Drums

The "Classic 6-Piece"
  • Tim Smith: Vox, Guitar,
  • Jim Smith: Bass
  • Sarah Smith: Sax
  • William D. Drake: Keyboards
  • Dominic Luckman: Drums
  • Tim Quy: Percussion + Bass Synth

The "Power Quartet" Lineup
  • Tim Smith: Vox, Guitar
  • Jon Poole: Guitar
  • Jim Smith: Bass
  • Bob Leith: Drums


  • Artist Existence Failure. Tim Smith suffered a stroke on the night of a My Bloody Valentine gig. Tim then had a further stroke and Cardiac Arrest and is thus unable to even talk, let alone perform.
  • Black Dude Dies First. Colvin Mayers who died of effects of AIDS on Boxing Day.
  • Brother–Sister Incest. Double Subverted Tim and Sarah were set up by the band's manager as an incestuous brother and sister item, the desired outcome being publicity. Their onstage antics didn't exactly help this and many people actually believed it, with Kingston police 'investigating it'. The story got into a British tabloid and Ex-Cardiacs to this day still push it as the truth, although with tongue firmly in cheek.
  • Damsel in Distress. Jim Smith who looks particularly sad on most album covers/promo pictures.
  • Manchild. Tim Smith plays this for laughs and would often be really immature on stage and make commentary that someone 20 years his junior would have felt uncomfortable.
  • Non-Appearing Title. "Bus for a Bus on the Bus", "The Obvious Identity", "As Cold As Can Be In An English Sea", "Is This The Life" to name but a few...
  • Not Christian Rock: Tim Smith has stated that the album 'Sing To God' is in no way a religious work, despite the word Jesus being clearly audible in amongst the lyrics of the song 'Fiery Gun Hand'.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome. Most of Cardiacs' early material (As Cardiac Arrest) was either not recorded or recorded poorly (and to make matters worse only released once and in extremely limited quantities).
    • Somewhat rectified by the special garage concerts, when live versions of their pre-1984 songs were played and recorded, with the end result being a double album featuring much, although not all, of the previously lost material.
  • Shout-Out. Cardiacs were far from adverse to this:
    • During Gloomy News Colvin Mayers would often play a short part of the Enter the Gladiators riff. Colvin appears to like Shout-Out since Rock Around the Clock (itself being a pun on the Bill Haley and His Comets song) was often introduced as "Real Rock and Roll!"
    • 2:50 into Dive a choral section starts. The lyrics? "Oh the grand old duke of York he had ten thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again". Some of you may recognise that nursery rhyme...
    • Half way into Pip As Uncle Dick But Peter Spoilt It there's a pretty big Spider-Man Shout-Out.
  • Suburbia: The source material of many of Tim's lyrics. See also Real Life Writes the Plot although less evident.
  • Tim is the Band Inverted with Jim being a punchbag on stage and music videos. Not to mention being in the band as long as Tim and standing next to him on stage.
  • Uncommon Time: Often, such as on the intro to Will Bleed Amen, which is in 13/8.