Release Date: Jul 23, 2013
Record label: N/A
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
There is magic in Emmett Kelly's music. A bewitching sound, which at its very best, places his work just outside of time's ragged grasp, imbuing it with a raw and thrilling enthusiasm. With his latest mini-album, Tiny Rebels, he finally strips away the fat from the bone, and in doing do produces some of the most cogent and harmonic music of his career.
Up until the time surrounding this release, the Cairo Gang was largely a solo project stemming off of the talents and songwriting of multi-instrumentalist Emmett Kelly. Kelly recorded several Cairo Gang albums as well as famously backing up Bonnie "Prince" Billy on albums like The Wonder Show of the World, among others. Tiny Rebels is more a mini-album than an EP, with six tracks dipped in generous amounts of reverb and tremolo and finding Kelly showcasing his knack for sunny pop harmonies and Byrds-esque 12-string guitar leads.
Emmett Kelly and his band The Cairo Gang are best-known as one of the more successful of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s recent foils. Tiny Rebels, however, sees Kelly strike out on his own path – in more ways than one. Fans of their spare, subtle work on The Wonder Show Of The World, their full-length collaboration with BPB, might be surprised with this six-track mini-album, on which The Cairo Gang unleash their previously hidden ragged side.
Emmett Kelly's the deliberate type, not usually one to rush things. It took Kelly's Cairo Gang some seven years to follow their fine 2006 debut with a proper full-length, last year's spare, solemn The Corner Man. In the meantime, Kelly's kept Cairo fans in one-offs and curios, but he's mostly been busy carving out the space around Will Oldham's immortal voice on a pair of stellar, characteristically stark Bonnie "Prince" Billy records.
Some musicians master tone and not much else. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy collaborator Emmett Kelly might be adept at creating porous, translucent space with a set of steel strings, but he doesn’t seem to know how to fill it. Tiny Rebels, the latest EP from his four-piece The Cairo Gang, floats a scrappy psychedelia built with tambourines and 12-string guitar.