There is no sweeter cry than a cry of love, and no greater love than a love of music. Like mercury through our clutching fingers, it is here and gone and spikes the blood like poison -- and the Cairo knows, he’s flown all ‘round this world, sewin’ seams and sowin’ seeds in the name of that most rare, that sweet, and on the wind, melody. When he ”Goes Missing”, bet on it -- that with guitar in hand and cry from deep in his chest, he’s in search of a place to beat his feet, and play the music again.
Playing with other artists over the years, Emmett Kelly has exhibited an encompassing approach to music which lends flexibility to The Cairo Gang’s song-style. He’s a harmony singer of supreme skill, bringing not only a sweet and supple voice but also a tremendous sympathy to the singing of it (as anyone who’s caught Cairo onstage with the Bonnie ‘Prince’ will ever know). Now a couple albums and tapes and singles and things into it he’s making streamlined music for the ears, constructing with a heavy hand in order to have a heavy impact with more than just sounds, but songs, and beaming them in on bright bolts of sunshine so as to be valued by our walnut-sized pleasure centers.
“Gone Missing” isn’t just an awesome, awesome-sounding record of guitar pop that rocks, of songs sweetly hung with candified hooks; also it’s a new report from the side of the road. The Cairo Gang have made tracks and travelled distances from their former states of mind, their former hooded selves. T’wasn’t more than a year ago when the new electric beat-band approach of “Tiny Rebels” rewrote our cerebrum of the impressions left by 2012’s “The Corner Man.” Now “Gone Missing,” The Cairo Gang have found themselves, their most perfect alignment to date, taking a more intuitive path to the song, playing as in “go play”: letting go of the sense of design, letting it write itself, as it will in the right hands. As Cairo saith (and so hummably too), “Be What You Are.”
“Gone Missing” was written in-between places, on the run, recorded in a variety of rooms. Lines appear to have been straightened -- yet still, blood beats sidewise inside Cairo’s temples, their rebel heart is drunk on the outskirts of town. The impulse to dig underneath the bittersweet heart, to invert meaning, shapes the songs of “Goes Missing.” Nuts and bubblegum -- why can’t we have both? With the music in righteous hands, and the distillation of high values to sing-songy ends (the BEST), paths to the ear are clear even when words go rogue. “Goes Missing” is about new identity -- what’s missing is that thing you heard in the past that is not the same thing anymore. It’s back there somewhere, if you go looking. When you turn around again, The Cairo Gang “Goes Missing” is waiting.
Angel, Wizard, and what have yuh, what ye have here is gleaming machine-like in the long rays of the evening sky. Bright and colored, like a jukebox shining a light, The Cairo Gang’s “Goes Missing” is a stack of sides, piled up, one after another, doo-wops of another age, with synthetic beat and pops that rock for the sake of the song, coming down the chute one after another, today. Keep on dancing.
An Angel, A Wizard
Be What You Are
She Don’t Want You
Gangsters Holding Hands
A Heart Like Yours
Some Other Time
The Open Sky
So What? Who Cares?