CAIROBI aren’t a politically inclined band, but on the day of Donald Trump’s election to The White House, I’m intrigued to get their thoughts on the fallout of the century. “It’s not good!” says Giorgio Poti the vocalist and guitarist of the band, who is tucked into the corner of a cosy Sebright Arms, in the East end of London.
“It just doesn’t show any progression, people are upset and want change but Donald Trump is not the way” Poti’s colleague, bassist- Alessandro Marrosu, doesn’t need to offer much else apart from the fact CAIROBI came together thanks to a continent that has done its best to eradicate borders-“well up until now”.
CAROBI, a four piece who make oozing neo-psychedelic music but are “pop at heart” formed whilst all of the four members-once five- studied together in London. Despite the fact that three of them hail from different countries: Italy, France and Mexico and two are now living in Berlin whilst another works in London, they still manage to congregate together to tour and perform- “it is hard work, but we do it.”
The hard work began for CAIROBI, three of four years before they step on stage in the darkened, ale pungent, brooding cellar of the Sebright Arms. Before they arrived at their now electric set up- synths and swirling noise makers included- they began life as an acoustic unit-“ we started out acoustic guitars and realised after a couple of gigs this wasn’t us. Then we started making home recordings (with a couple of microphones) and had a lot more time to shape what we were doing” reflects Poti, assembling a pre-gig rollie.
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CAIROBI’S influences are hard to pin down, but you can recall a quaint resemblance of Animal Collective in their creations, probably more from the elusive, high pitched lyrics that echo over the exotic rhythm sections that play out like a Tribal music compilation CD. Just take the recently released single Ghost opening with a warpy synth and the double tracked harmonies of Poti singing- “with the palm of my hands I decide to impress the ghost of you on my eyes”.
The band plan to release their album in early 2017 but at the moment, they have a small set-list to choose from but already the theme of the soon to come LP is played out in earlier tunes- “a lot of the albums themes are about transgression- moving from place to place, almost a travellers diary.”
They begin their set with Gristly Words, the manic jazz tinged drumming of Aurelien Bernard leads into a hypnotic trance coated in Poti’s wonky whammy of his Japanese brand-less guitar, while he effortlessly sings- “It’s what stays that makes the escape worth/You grab the future as the past goes lost.”
CAIROBI’S ability to progress a song is outstanding and while synth man Salvador Garza fires of shooting samples to appease the “waaah’s” of the Krautrock sounding verses, it’s only at the stabbed chorus you get a full flavour of Cairobi’s more of kilter rhythms thanks to Poti’s thrusted chords that are a pleasant hybrid of garage and psychedelia- thank the Black Lips for that.
The band also cites German, avant-garde experimentalist CAN as influences and single ‘Lupo’ gets the full synth treatment with its arpeggiated keyboard hook. Hearing the song live draws you too its melodic bass line that keeps the song moving in time with the woozy guitar- whilst the chorus encourages the crowd to nod along- pints in hand, shoulders grooving.
The heaviest moment of the gig comes with yet to be released track- Saint– with its powerful riff that is destined to become a gig favourite. Human Friend of the 2014 Distant Fire EP- is a flowery keyboard line that exposes the more experimental side of the set list- taking you on a classical journey only to be plunked on a tropical island at the end of it. Its melodic genius is led by the vocals that get submerged in beach house sounding keyboards only to overcome the new wave sound in chants- it’s ethereal, it’s tangy, it’s catchy!
A few quiet “thank you’s” are bestowed before the gig is closed with Zoraide, after drummer Bernard, enquires what song it is they’re playing, gaining a few laughs. The stage presence also becomes a bit more energetic, mind you Poti has been swaying back and forth, stumbling in his cargo jeans for the entire thing, whilst Garza in a bright orange shirt has been leaning hand on synth head-banging. Towards the end of the song all three of the rhythm sections are facing the drummer to the right of the stage, duelling with his pulsating rhythms as he bashes away at some speed.
Zoraide lacks the melodic hook of the other songs but demonstrates CAIROBI knack for sounding like themselves- trembling keyboards mimicking a European string section, laced with the stabbed guitar that parade the this time, African drum shuffle.
CAIROBI are destined for great things, experimentalist works of vast sonic soundscapes and melodies that go beyond transcendence. You’d think with singer Poti being able to work full time as a composer- “also writing songs for other Italian artists”-that CAIROBI will be allowed to grow and flourish into something as wild as Animal Collective have become. But for now we anticipate the release of their debut self-titled album.
CAIROBI’s self-titled album ‘CAIROBI’ is expected on 27th January 2017 via Week of Wonders.