The Cairo Gang - Tiny Rebels

Kelly’s heroes

Emmett Kelly and his band
The Cairo Gang are best-known
as one of the more
successful of Bonnie ‘Prince’
Billy’s recent foils. Tiny Rebels,
however, sees Kelly strike out
on his own path – in more
ways than one.

Fans of their spare, subtle
work on The Wonder Show Of
The World, their full-length
collaboration with BPB, might
be surprised with this six-track
mini-album, on which The
Cairo Gang unleash their
previously hidden ragged side.
The initial impression is of
discovering a long-lost,
particularly late-night-and-loose
Byrds demo tape. The
dual 12-string guitars clang,
vocals are often strained, and
the entire thing often seems
to be on the verge of collapse.
Yet songs such as Take Your
Time and Father Of The Man
have an undeniable wide-eyed
charm, even if they do err
heavily on the side of a series
of late 60s pastiches.

The most problematic
moment comes when the
tongue-in-cheek West Coast
pop gives way to Shivers,
a melodramatic power ballad in lo-fi clothing. The only weak
moment on an otherwise
enjoyable release, it sounds
phoney, purposely strung-out,
as if self-consciously
aping Neil Young’s wracked-out
Tonight’s The Night.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Empty Cellar/Disney Reform Party | EMP 017/DRP 004 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Jamie Atkins
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