The newly formed band “Cairo” is the latest venture and brainwave of Rob Cottingham keyboard maestro and former member of UK Progressive Band “Touchstone”. In this current project and “Cario” debut album entitled “Say” he replicates, to a certain degree” the “Touchstone” lineup idea of having a strong female presence (Rachel Hill) in the vocal department both as a lead singer and also providing strong support harmonies. Indeed the vocals are well delivered throughout the album being extremely melodic, quite delightful and actually well written and meaningful. Rob Cottingham is a superb composer and has crafted together a nice collection of progressive song delights. The idea behind this new band is best expressed by Rob himself when he quotes:- “I was after a new sound with the same sensibilities as in my previous writing but with heavier passages, as well as more ambient, electronic soundscapes – plus more time spent on crafting the blend of male and female vocals within the overall production of the music”.
Considering that this album is over an hour long, it is amazing how each track has a distinct uniqueness about it with different hooks, subtle time changes and lovely melodic passages. There are just so many layers which need investigating and as you drill down through each you discover little flurries of instrumental colour and orchestral beauty. Whilst the keyboards together with some interesting electronics play a major underpinning role in the overall sound there are plenty of wonderfully executed lead guitar breaks providing both lovely melodic moments and also extensive solid heavier metal style rifling. It needs to be said too that the bass, drums and percussion play a massive part in the overall texture of the album, the drumming particularly is interesting to follow, so many patterns and time sequences without being over powering.
Summary: This is such a good interesting and enjoyable progressive rock album with fantastic instrumentation, indeed Rob Cottingham has assembled a wonderfully talented band of very fine musicians. The vocals too are very intricate and beautifully projected with superb harmonies. The compositions too are all Rob Cottingham's work and he has written and put together a set of extremely nice songs which are all uniquely diverse and which allow his musicians to fully express their individual talents. Don't be fooled by what seems an instantly accessible album there is so much more hidden below the surface with successive plays..
Cover Art: A nice fully detailed booklet contained within a double digi-pak format
1. CAIRO (2.42)
2. SHADOW’S RETURN PROLOGUE (2.10)
3. SHADOW’S RETURN (2.33)
4. WIPED OUT (3.09)
5. SAY (3.40)
6. NOTHING TO PROVE (9.30)
7. NOTHING TO PROVE REPRISE (3.01)
8. KATRINA (5.11)
9. SEARCHING (4.47)
10. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS PART 1 (4.31)
11. BACK FROM THE WILDERNESS (4.50)
12. DANCING THE GOSSAMER THREAD (6.25)
13. KATRINA (BREATHE MIX) (9.01)
Band Details :
Rob Cottingham -Vocals, Keys & Programming.
Rachel Hill -Vocals
James Hards -Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Paul Stocker -Bass & Acoustic Guitars
Graham Brown -Drums & Percusion.