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'Storm Clouds'
Out now

Johnny Main

johnny main

cairo son

London based trio Cairo Son have musical inspirations and influences which are as diverse as the band members individual background. Their sound could be described as "dark" or "bitter" but this is because their post-grunge stoner rock is cut from the same cloth the likes of Soundgarden and Alice In Chains.

If you add in hard and heavy guitar riffs influenced by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin then you're on your way to gaining a better understanding of where the band are coming from, yet they still manage to create a sound that's fresh, instant and utterly unwavering in its intent.

They released their debut album, 'Heart Against The Feather', in 2012 and since then they have seen their fan base grow and grow through sheer hard graft from gigging around the UK and helped in part by achieving some radio play both in the UK and overseas.

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'Storm Clouds' is the band's second album and even though it's just only forty or so minutes long, it's a stunning piece of work from beginning to end. The lead track, Song One – 'Lost In The Shadow' is a slow paced number but it's never plodding.

There are some good harmony vocals here though with all the instrumentation around it, the vocals very much remain the centre of attention as the guitars and drums stay on the back of the mix. Front man Magdy stretches his voice during the choruses and puts in a good early performance.

'Lion In A Cage' is an early showcase for drummer, Dave, with his irregular beat that is also quite complex to play but suits their songs perfectly. A simple guitar stab from Magdy accompanies his vocals and it sounds great and lets the instrumentation lead the way. Don't get me wrong, the vocals aren't half bad at all but the sparseness of them allows the music to come centre stage.

The first single released from the album was 'Devil's Tongue', and it seems like Dave is vying for the spotlight again while the guitar riff of Magdy is solid enough and it eventually leads into a well thought-out and well performed solo with guitar being thorough rather than being too showy.

For me, 'My Brain' is by far and away the oddest sounding track here with its peculiar guitar rhythm backed up by a somewhat simpler drumbeat. It's also one of the slowest number here but that's not to say it's not good of course, because once you get your head around the guitar rhythm, everything really falls into place.

The drums and sweeping guitar chords give way to a more standard middle section with an acoustic guitar driving the song before it reverts to type once again, and throughout all this, Magdy gives a sympathetic vocal performance.

cairo son

'Give Me Strength' is one of the faster paced numbers during the choruses but it slows down considerably during the moody middle section. It's a good solid number and became a firm favourite of mine after only a few listens. Magdy really stretches himself during the choruses and his guitar riff is good and solid, backed up with a great rhythm from bass player Enrico who finally gets his moment in the spotlight during the latter stages of the track.

The final number is the title track, 'Storm Clouds' – and what an epic number it is to close with. Rather than give it one more fast blast, the band keep it simple with a slower tempo number on this (nearly) eleven minute track, which once again plays to the band's strengths.

Simple it may be but it's also another interesting piece with Magdy giving a soulful performance as Dave keeps things tight at the back, in between the sweeping guitar chords. A slightly downbeat way to end maybe, but it's a classy end to a great album.

You can see the official video for 'Devil's Tongue' here:

You can see Cairo Son live here:
Friday 24th – Sunday 26th June – Wildfire Festival, Wiston Lodge

'Storm Clouds' Track Listing:
Lost In The Shadow
Lion In A Cage
Devil's Tongue
My Brain
Give Me Strength
Storm Clouds

Cairo Son are:
Magdy – Vocals/Guitar
Enrico – Bass Guitar
Dave – Drums

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