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Peeling Away: Cairo’s “Same As Before,” “Retrospective” And “Night Vision”

Any band saying they drew heavy inspiration from Hotel Mexico has my attention, as did Tokyo quartet Cairo in a recent piece by Ryotaro Aoki over at The Japan Times. And listening to the three songs they’ve shared online — all from the recently released Same As Before, out via Magniph — makes it clear they are carrying on a similar hazy dream-rock feel, one where the way words sound as they ripple off is far more important than the actual dictionary definition. “Same As Before” is straight ahead, all relaxed guitar playing and drums that might be a mirage, but from it Cairo create a melancholy afternoon stroll of a song, where the repeated line “everything is up to you” becomes more and more longing with each utterance. It’s blurry-eyed indie rock drifting on the same trade winds as Pictured Resort and Ykiki Beat.

It’s the other two songs that offer a glimpse at something a bit different, one taking more obvious cues from Hotel Mexico. “Retrospective” buries the vocals under fuzzy guitar waves, with the shapeless vocals beneath adding a tension to the driving number. “Night Vision” adds in some dance grooves to the mix (and is the one song where the falsetto vocals really approach Hotel Mexico territory), adding some new territory to their sound. Listen above.