Channel Cairo, Barfly, London

4.00

 

Every now and then you discover a new band that you feel have belonged in your record collection for years. Rarer still, you discover that the band live on your own street. This I discovered when a local fire in Willesden Green, north-west London, led me online to Twitter, and to my neighbours, the pastoral dream pop band Channel Cairo.

Via some BBC6 radio play, and gigs across London – and on the strength of an astounding debut single, “Elephant Room” – the small Camden venue is packed out with fans, including one who’s so enthralled she’s travelled all the way from sunny California to rainy London. It may be early days – tonight the band are launching their second single, “A Year” – but it’s easy to see what lured her across the Atlantic.

This five-piece create blissfully expansive, dreamy melodic pop. In their singer and pianist Josh Bowyer they have a charismatic frontman with a talent for song writing. But it’s the beautifully crafted arrangements and lush instrumentation of their timeless pastoral pop, which each band member contributes, which renders their songs so magical.

The prominence of the piano – Bowyer stands at it at the front of the stage – strikes obvious instant comparisons to piano-led indiepop band Keane, but their music is far more interesting and beguiling.

While recalling the inventiveness and intricacies of art-rock band Wild Beasts, they blend this with classic influences from the harmony-laden Sixties pop of The Beach Boys, and the spacious instrumental sound of the Seventies, nowhere more redolent than on the majestic and melancholic “A Year”, with its widescreen feel.  “Elephant Room” is one of the best singles I’ve heard this year. It also boasts some knowing lyrics such as: “she’s a singer in a rock group/ and don’t she let you know about it all the time”.

Bowyer opens with a confident flourish of piano leading into blissful harmonies contributed by his band members and builds to a dramatic climax that’s so typical of the refreshing twists and turns their songs take. There’s nothing formulaic about Channel Cairo. “Drifter” has an eerie feel, hinting at Radiohead as do the skittish beats that the spectral “Halo” breaks into, all the while carried by Bowyer’s keening vocals.

Channel Cairo aren’t just putting Willesden Green on the musical map – they are set for pastures far wider.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Click here to own the single "A Year"

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before