Title - '$@Y'
Artist - Cairo
For those not in the know, Cairo is the brainchild of Touchstone founder, songwriter, singer and keys man Rob Cottingham. The new UK-based band is have just released their debut self-titled album this past October 3rd, 2017 via The Right Honourable Record Company Ltd and Cherry Red Records (UK).
Cairo is an hour long and includes a prog epic in the form of “Nothing To Prove” and a right royal title track rocker in “Say”. Also including a special voice over from Nick Yarris, an innocent man who spent twenty-two years on death row in Pennsylvania, this album is truly something to behold.
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)
The band comprises Rachel Hill on vocals; James Hards on guitars; Paul Stocker on bass, Graham Brown on drums and Cottingham on vocals and keys. As Cottingham himself says, "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."
Mission accomplished, as every track on this album is stunningly orchestrated and beautifully arranged. Unlike Touchstone, a harder-edged prog band, Cottingham has now created a new group that pushes that prog sound into a new era.
With a much noted higher prog keyboard presence throughout, though many of the other classic elements are present, Cairo is much more than just the lead man, of course. Featuring some truly fabulous guitar work from James Hards, a grounded, workhorse of a bassist in Paul Stocker, and solid drums from Graham Brown, it's all woven together by the stellar lead vocals of Rachel Hill.
Personally, my favorites here are 'Katrina' - which comes in two version; the regular version and then a nine minute long version that, along with assorted effects, also includes a provocative moment of silence - and a lush track in 'Back from the Wilderness'. A simply beautiful lullaby of unique majesty, in and unto itself.
Digital Purchase Link