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Album Review: The Cairos - Dream Of Reason (2014 LP)

After six years of gigs and EPs, Brisbane four piece The Cairos have finally accomplished the cherished dream of many young musicians: releasing a debut album. Having spent over a year working on this record, Dream Of Reason rejects the notion that debut albums are simply a stepping-stone to greater things, rather than an artistic statement. Selected from a crop of 100+ songs, the chosen ten tracks that make up Dream Of Reason are well crafted, diverse and boast a sense of maturity that most debuts tend to lack.

The first test of a debut album (or any album for that matter) is of course, the opening track. Fortunately, lead single “Obsession” passes this test with flying colours, proving to be one of the record’s strongest tracks. Striking a fine balance between contemplation and exhilaration, the combination of Alistar Richardson’s anguished vocals and Jacob Trotter’s vigorous drumming inspires visions of adventure whilst showing off this foursome’s ability to create complex, yet melodically pleasing tunes.

In some cases however, their ambition and aptitude for complexity gets the better of these Brisbane boys, resulting in a few numbers that feel a tad longwinded and overwrought with detail. Take “Two Weeks Of Eternity”, for example. Whilst guitarist Alfio Alivuzza’s glorious guitar motifs will leave fans of the Smashing Pumpkins feeling weak at the knees, the abrupt shifts between states of peace and menace coupled with the overabundance of motifs leave this track feeling clumsy and rushed.

In spite of these missteps, there’s still a lot to love about Dream Of Reason – notably, the impressive guitar work of Alivuzza and Richardson. Driven by a gloomy guitar riff, “Fear Of Madness” successively instills the listener with the titular sensation, evoking through their fretwork a mixture of Radiohead and Interpol. On the other hand, lively number “Reasons” harks back to the golden era of alt-rock through its rollicking, Pixies-ified riff.

On a more macroscopic level, this record will also please non-musicians with its cohesive sense of variety. Whilst singles “Desire” and “Obsession” inject the usual dosage of brooding indie rock, these Brisbane boys also dish out a few surprises. Piano-based ballad “Insane” delves into existentialist territory, “Perspective” shows off their soft, composed side and penultimate track “Good Day” inspires wide-stretched grins through its affirming lyricism and peppy rhythms.

Like all debuts, Dream Of Reason is not without its faults. For the most part however, The Cairos have crafted a clever, ambitious record that crawls under your skin and into your head – a feat that not many bands achieve on their first try.

Review Score: 7.4 out of 10.

Dream of Reason is currently available online and in stores