Somehow it’s possible to trace the Brisbane and greater Australian energy in the sound of any artist. The Cairos are no exception. The band brings something more to the table, something more flavorful and exceptional yet oddly familiar-sounding. Each track has resemblance of another band, sometimes newcomers Grouplove in their faster tracks, the Strokes in its medium level and even Death Cab when slower tunes lay low.
The Cairos orchestrate an indie-alternative’ sound that is part vintage, part trendy and part homage. It’s possible to hear references in their guitar riffs to the greats, perhaps the Smiths or the Rolling Stones, but it’s honorable to hear them tactfully place a spin on their reminiscent tunes. This is the edge that makes the Cairos so special.
The opening measure might catch your attention first, and if that doesn’t do it for you, maybe the lyric work in “Seasons of Snow” will. Early on, they sing: “Corridors of thought that change direction/things aren’t as they seem/ but all will soon be forgotten.” Later, the chorus sings “It’s amazing how the places we go/buried under seasons of snow/ boundless in the faces that go away/flow away.”
A range of emotions are captured in the first few songs alone. While “Self Control” starts melancholy and evolves into electric, “We All Buy Stars” starts chipper and ends spiteful. This song, in fact, stands as the collection’s most shining example of well-produced music.
It may be the hook that makes “We All Buy Stars” so solid (“We all buy stars/try to reach them somehow”) but it could also be a number of other things. Something about the way the song propels it forward–is it the bassline? the drums? The standard-yet-noticeable vocals?–attracts the listener’s attention fully. The song’s breakdown at the bridge is really great, where the vocals rest and a high-powered guitar solo takes the reins and leads the song out.
“Yeah No” might be what ties Colours Like Feathers together ultimately. Or, at least, makes the greatest attempt to. It’s still spiteful but just as cheerful-sounding as the rest. Before the album’s premature finish, “Lena” and “Shame” stay on a more remedial track with an emphasis on the narrative.
With a short set, it’s hard to tie in a larger message. One can imagine that the Cairos wished to show all sides of their craft in Colours Like Feathers, but in doing so, they left out the whole crucial bit of cohesiveness. Each song stands alone and not as a part of the whole picture. Though there’s not one song any worse than the last, it seems the band either over- or under-thought this album. Regardless, it’s a nice piece of work.
The taste is trendy and the spirit is welcoming, so there’s not much not to like. With such a bright and lovely six-song set, the biggest disappointment is simply that there isn’t more to love.
The Cair0s – Colours Like Feathers tracklist:
- “Seasons of Snow”
- “Self Control”
- “We All Buy Stars”
- “Yeah No”