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After seven years away, the Sea Nymphs have come back to life

A heart attack and stroke couldn’t halt Tim Smith from bringing Cardiacs offshoot The Sea Nymphs’second album to life, over 20 years after it was first conceived

In June 2008, Cardiacs frontman Tim Smith went to see My Bloody Valentine at the Roundhouse in London. A few hours later, en route to meeting some friends, he suffered a massive heart attack and stroke. A second stroke followed in hospital soon after, leaving him paralysed down one side of his body and unable to talk. Placed in a neurological rehab unit in Wiltshire, the prognosis looked grim.

Smith had been the singer, songwriter, producer and driving force of Cardiacs ever since they formed, as Cardiac Arrest, in 1977. Their unclassifiable brand of music – a delirious fever of pop, punk, prog, psychedelia and more – has made them one of our more distinctive treasures, an absurdist paradise that’s drawn famous fans from Radiohead and Steven Wilson to Andy Partridge and Knifeworld. A whole host of names turned out for 2010’s Leader Of The Starry Skies: A Tribute To Tim Smith, Songbook 1, the proceeds of which helped raise funds for his ongoing care. The man himself, meanwhile, has been absent from recording since his illness. For the longest time it seemed as though we may never hear from him again. That is, until now.

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