Release Date: Jun 23, 2015
Record label: God?
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
Out from the veil of their stint backing the sparseness and pomp of Bonnie “Prince” Billy, the Emmett Kelly-lead Cairo Gang are finally in position to stake some kind of claim amidst a bedlam of rock ‘n’ roll groups who aren’t positive of what they’d like to sound like. Kelly knows exactly what he’d like the Cairo Gang to sound like—it’s just that the scope varies from song to song on Goes Missing. And through these sonic crevices we find some of the most addictive pop tunes to rear their maws since pretty much everything Robert Pollard has ever touched.
Peregrinating from Britain to California and back again, Emmett Kelly’s the Cairo Gang presents a musical diorama of the 1960s on Goes Missing. Encompassing everything from the bubblegum pop of early Beatles and the arcane idyll of the Kinks to the surf rock of Jan and Dean and jangling psych-folk of the Byrds, Goes Missing plays more like a just-discovered collection of B-sides from some post-British Invasion band that never breached US shores. A frequent compeer of Will (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) Oldham — the pair has collaborated on three releases dating back to 2010’s The Wonder Show of the World, their most recent being last year’s 7” single, “We Love Our Hole”, a limited single released in tandem with Andrew Kidman’s surf documentary Spirit of Akasha — Kelly has historically traversed styles while remaining true to his Brit fetish that began with the Cairo Gang’s 2006 self-titled debut.
On their excellent 2013 EP Tiny Rebels, the Cairo Gang reinvented themselves as jangle poppers extraordinaire, channeling the Byrds, Love, and half the bands on the Pebbles comps to deliver some truly lovely 12-string guitar-driven lo-fi sounds. On Goes Missing, the album that followed in 2015, the Gang's leader, Emmett Kelly, goes back to the well and brings back another serving of jingle-jangle goodness. The fidelity has been boosted, this time the guitars ring much more clearly and Kelly's pleasingly plain, nakedly honest voice is way out front, and there is more variety to the record, but it delivers the same high level of satisfaction.
The Cairo Gang — Goes Missing (God?)Emmett Kelly must have gone to bed a black-suited country blues man and woke up in psychedelic paisley. The songwriter, who has backed sepulchral folksters like Bonnie Prince Billy and Angel Olsen, was plying a ruminative deep country goth folk vein as 2012’s The Corner Man, wringing emotional resonance from the sparest arrangements and epiphany from the space between the notes. The one giddy departure, “Now You Are One of Us” goes a good ways towards foreshadowing this year’s Goes Missing, though its rock is homespun and acoustic and not as sheathed in VU-style reverb as this.