New Audio: The Anthemic and Nosily Kaleidoscopic Psych Rock Sounds of London’s Cairobi

Comprised of Giorgio Poti (vocals, guitars), Alessandro Marrosu (bass), Salvador Garza (keys) and Aurelien Bernard (drums), each member of the London-based psych rock quartet Cairobi can claim a multinational heritage, which manages to influence their songwriting approach and sound. And adding to that multicultural influence, the band’s self-produced, self-titled album was written in Berlin, where the band’s lead singer relocated, and was recorded in a series of sessions between Berlin, London, Rome and New York. Interestingly, part of the album’s writing sessions draws from Poti suffering frequent and violently incapacitating migraines. As Poti explains in press notes ““I could either stay still, in silence, eyes shut, or take the medication and hope it worked so I could move on with my day. Even when the medicine worked, it would make me extremely sleepy, so some of the music and lyrics on this record were written in a state of drowsiness. That part wasn’t particularly fun, but maybe it helped me get rid of some filters. Luckily, the headaches stopped after about a year.”

The band started to receive attention across the blogosphere with the jagged and jangling Brit Pop and dream pop-leaning “Lupo,” a single which revealed that the band employed an unusual songwriting technique while still hewing to a lengthy psych pop/psych rock tradition. The band’s latest single “Saint” is a dense, noisy and jangling track that sounds as though it draws a bit from Middle Eastern and Saharan African music with shuffling drumming, chopped up distorted vocals, electronic bleeps and bloops and other effects to create a trippy kaleidoscopic sound. And while still drawing from old school psych rock, the single manages to sound as though it’s a modern, maximalist take on a familiar and beloved sound, complete with an anthemic, arena rock-friendly hook.