The Seaside is the third demo album from English rock group Cardiacs. The album originally featured the second recording of what would become the band's only hit single, "Is This the Life?". It is the last of the band's releases to feature keyboard player/drummer/singer Mark Cawthra and the first to feature keyboard player William D. Drake (as well as being the only album to feature two other musicians who were briefly Cardiacs members - Graham Simmonds and Marguerite Johnson).
Initially The Seaside was only produced on cassette (as with earlier Cardiacs album releases), and was only made available through the band's fan club and at concerts. It is notable for having been the first formal release on the band's own label, the Alphabet Business Concern. Three editions of the cassette album were produced, each with a different cover - the first featuring rubber-stamped artwork, the second a black-and-white picture and the third a colour picture of bass player Jim Smith. All versions are rare, with the 'stamped' cover being the rarest.
Several tracks on the cassette album were re-recorded for subsequent releases. "Is This the Life?", "A Little Man and a House" and "R.E.S." were all re-recorded and released four years later on Cardiacs' 1988 album A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window. "Nurses Whispering Verses" was eventually re-recorded a decade later for the band's 1995 album Sing to God (albeit with different lyrics).
The album captures the band in a transitional phase, with two distinct lineups of the band featured. Both featured Mark Cawthra (who moved between drums and keyboards during different recording sessions) and his voice is featured prominently on the album, occasionally sharing lead vocals with Tim Smith. Cawthra would leave the band amicably during the sessions for The Seaside in order to pursue his own projects.
The Seaside was reissued on CD in 1995, with "Nurses Whispering Verses", "Is This the Life?", "A Little Man and a House" and "Dinner Time" all removed from the track listing. The reason provided for these omissions was that the master tape containing those four songs had been damaged and the recordings lost.
Notwithstanding, October 2015 saw the announcement of a further re-release, which reinstated, and remastered, all the original tracks.