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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Cairo (UK)


Review by Gary Hill

The first thing to get out of the way here is that this is not the Mark Robertson led band of the same name. While that band hails from the USA, this act is based in the UK. This band consists of Bob Cottingham, Lisa Driscoll, James Hards, Paul Stocker and Graham Brown. The mix of prog here is both modern and classic in nature. This does have a tendency to land more along the mellow end of the spectrum than the rocking one, but it's quite a diverse set really. It works quite well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Odd effects driven elements drive this cut at the start. As you might guess, it has bits of world music in the mix. This is a powerhouse progressive rock jam as it builds out. It's a great opening instrumental piece.
Shadow's Return (Prologue)
Essentially just a spoken piece, this has some atmospherics in the backdrop.
Shadow's Return
This works out in a powerhouse prog rock arrangement that really drives. It makes me think of Chris Squire in terms of some of the vocal parts.
Wiped Out
Coming in with a hard rocking, crunchy prog sound, this is fast and furious. The vocals on this one are of the female variety and quite effective. This is a powerhouse prog jam that continues the musical themes  of the rest of the set.
I love the keyboard sounds on the intro to the title track. This cut makes great use of both the male and female vocals. It's a driving cut with a lot of varying sounds and sections. I really love how some of the bass work gets a bit funky. There is a killer keyboard driven movement near the end, too.
Nothing To Prove
At over nine-and-a-half minutes of music, this is the epic of the disc. It starts with an atmospheric kind of texture with the vocals over the top. Comparisons to Pink Floyd wouldn't be out of the question there. It works forward from there ever so gradually until past the one minute mark where bursts of harder rocking stuff emerge. Around the two minute mark it fires out into some screaming hot hard rock with a driving riff. Eventually this makes its way toward a very Pink Floyd like movement for a time. Around the half way mark it drops to a mellower keyboard oriented arrangement for a time. Then it powers out with scorching hot rocking material to continue. This has a real crunchy vibe to it. Vocals come back in over the top of this backdrop as it drives onward. They work it to a crescendo and then use atmospheric keys to continue.
Nothing To Prove (Reprise)
The atmospheric elements at the heart of the beginning of this have a real science-fiction like sense of mystery to them. There is an electronic sort of driving beat that joins after a time. This works to electronic music that makes me think of Synergy or Vangelis for a bit. Then it powers out to a more rocking arrangement of that kind of sound to drive it forward. There is a weird drop back around the two minute mark, but it powers back out in style from there. Another drop sets up the final resolution for this instrumental piece.
I love the bass work as this melodic prog number develops. The female vocals are heard over a rather stripped back musical arrangement. The cut works outward after that section with a cool dramatic prog rock segment. It develops into more of a soaring melodic progressive rock movement as it continues.

Starting with piano, this is another cool melodic prog number. This is a mellower number. It has some soaring mellow musical elements.

Random Acts Of Kindness, Pt. 1
This is on the mellower side, too. It has some great keyboard textures, but also great acoustic guitar work. It's a classy number that works really well.
Back From The Wilderness
I love this song. It has a real melodic prog ballad approach. The mix of male and female vocals works so well. This gets into more powerhouse stuff as it builds out later. I love some of the killer guitar sounds on the closing movement.
Dancing The Gossamer Thread
I love the bass work that drives behind the dancing piano on the opening section here. There is a false ending and we're taken into a revised melodic prog movement. I can make out hints of Pink Floyd here. Both male and female vocals serve this track well. The cut evolves through some great prog rock textures as it continues. There are definitely elements here that make me think of Pink Floyd as it resolves later in the piece.
Katrina (Breathe Mix)
Atmospheric electronic elements are at the heart of this re-envisioning of the earlier cut in the beginning. There are other sounds that come into the mix after a while. Then it drops away for sound bites from Hurricane Katrina. It drops to silence after that around the three and a half minute mark. It's two minutes before anything else is heard. Then a piano melody emerges take the cut onward. Working through several movements and modes, this is a pretty piano solo with some other keyboard textures over the top. A bit of backwards tracking takes it right at the end.
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