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CAIRO GANG - Goes Missing LP


CAIRO GANG - Goes Missing LP

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"The music of Chicago’s Cairo Gang is unabashedly retro, and better for it. Band leader Emmett Kelly is so unafraid to echo the past that he drags it into the present, making his influences sound as immediate now as they did when they first came along. "Be What You Are" is a pop-rock gem with so many classic touches—rockabilly beat, winding guitars, multi-part vocal melody, an efficient two-minute runtime—that it sounds less frozen in time than timeless.
The most direct reference here is to the Byrds, a band who have periodically come into favor as an indie inspiration, from the twangy 1980s rock of R.E.M. and their southern cohort, to the '90s garage nuggets of Guided By Voices. But whether or not they’re a hip influence now, they’re always a good one, something Kelly understands. And he still manages to make the song his own, crafting an ode to non-conformity ("I want to be the only one around who don’t belong here") that’s a cousin to the Kinks’ "I’m Not Like Everybody Else". It may seem incongruous to declare independence in a song with obvious antecedents, but being yourself doesn’t necessarily mean being unique. It just means sounding the way you want to sound, and the Cairo Gang are pretty great at that.

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