The Cairo Gang

    The Cairo Gang


    The clock is always ticking — even for music journalists. In order to meet deadlines, many rock critics often don’t live with a record enough before reviewing it. The relevance of this trivial information is that the Cairo Gang’s self-titled debut has been in my rotation for a bit more than two months now. I listen and I listen again. But no matter how many spins it gets, The Cairo Gang never even comes as close as bronze status.


    The sounds on the album span the last forty years of music, touching on many angles of indie-rock introspection through gentle guitar strums, soft wind instruments, and soothing vocals. I’ve listened to “A Hammer for the Temple” on several sunny weekend afternoons, with a cup of tea and a fully healed hangover in tow. The song could be slipped into the happy, suburban scenes in vintage films such as the original Stepford Wives, as can its successor, “Assholes” (but, you know, slipped into the movies’ creepier parts, after all the brainwashing becomes apparent). Closer “Me and You” is the album’s best song, picking up the slack of the previous fourteen tracks that never make a splash. In comparison to some of the other indie gems released this year — say, Built to Spill‘s “Liar” or Band of Horses‘ “Funeral” — the Cairo Gang is as pale as the ghosts of 1920s British Intelligence agents after which singer Emmett Kelly named this project.


    Kelly has obvious talent, and it shows in the perfect pairing of his guitar and vocals. They resound in a state of balance, but it’s simply not enough to draw interest, much less keep it. After nearly eight weeks of trying, the time has come to retire The Cairo Gang from the stereo racks — for good.


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