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Album Review: CAIRO – A History of Reasons

Toronto-based indie rock group CAIRO, after garnering significant regional attention from the release of the music video for its single “A History of Reasons,” has delivered a full-length debut album that lives up to its hype. It is by no means groundbreaking, but is still a perfectly listenable amalgamation of folksy indie drama and mainstream pop.

The performances on the album are of exceptionally high quality for a first release, and each song is written with an impressive degree of vision. The skillful orchestration of dramatic drum fills, resonating violin melodies, and sweeping vocal harmonies give tracks such as “Kingdom” a powerful sense of urgency.

While the instrumentation is strong, the definitive weak point in the album is the lyrics, which are often distracting and overthought. The content feels forced, and is more reminiscent of 2000s-era emo than the introspective poetry the band advertises. The liner notes only serve to further this issue, awkwardly framing wistful excerpts upon Tumblr-esque black and white imagery. When combined with the dramatic feel of the music, the lyrics sometimes confer a feeling of histrionics and melodrama rather than theatricality.

Although at times it can take itself far too seriously, A History of Reasons is still a completely respectable debut. More than anything, it indicates the promise the band holds, and shows listeners that with refinements, CAIRO hold the potential to become a staple of the Canadian indie rock scene.

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