Caiiro Foster – [7” single]

Friday, 27 January 2012

It might not sound like it should make sense initially, but sometimes the flaws in a record's presentation can actually enrich the experience of hearing it. Believe me when I say that such an inference is only that – an inference – and not not an ironclad rule, but it was certainly proven to me definitively when I reviewed the People Mover 7” by Toronto-based punks Caiiro Foster. The band's second release in just a few months (their self-titled EP came first) sees their chops improving dramatically in a surprisingly short span; edging ever-closer to the raw, raging sound of the original SST roster is certainly a positive move, but helped this release get there for me was the stripe of dirt (not dust, dirt – it looks a little like sandy loam) clearly visible on the A-side of my review copy. That is not meant to sound demeaning (not like, “Oh yeah – it was so dirty, the stuff was oozing through it!”), but running a needle over it produced an interesting effect, certainly. Here, while band-members Jackson Main, Jon Waller and Chad Kerswill (on bass, guitar and drums respectively) stir up a menacing and turgid permutation of skate/hardcore punk, screamer Alex Hryshko takes a few minutes to try and develop a vocal node or esophageal polyp as he occasionally bellows a few unintelligible lines (not couplets really, just statements)which sound like they might be meaningful, before rounding back to the lyrical rejoinder, “Here comes the people mover!”

The delivery of those words sounds desperate and angry and the scuzz on the vinyl of my review copy actually helped to further that point; with all of the darkness swirling around, the constant interruption of the dirt on the vinyl obscures the song's movement and makes the play seem harrowing and senseless. Somehow, that is the hook which got my pulse racing and, while I doubt that every copy of the People Mover 7'' has the same sort of hobbled flow (even if the band tried, how would they make the same smear across innumerable singles), it was a really cool thing to have happen in my own case.

After Caiiro Foster gets pulses racing and (yes) people moving with the A-side song of this seven-inch, the band really begins to show listeners what they're about with the B-side. First, with “Lou Ferrigno,” Caiiro Foster begins to tighten up the structures first implied on the single's A-side and delivers an incisive salvo to already-teased ears. Here, Hryshko gets behind his keyboard and adds some delicate and almost dreamy touchings to Waller's solid and unshakable guitars and the unflinching, rock-solid rhythm of Main and Kerswill. The song cuts a perfect foil for the mania of “People Mover” with its raging/ravishing beauty; lyrics are still difficult to pick out here, but the overall impression is both charmed and elating.

As good as listeners might start to feel about the prospect of saying they were able to survive the vicious fucking mosh pit this band was able to create with both “People Mover” and “Lou Ferrigno,” the best-seller is “Bill Bixby,” the second song on Side B of this seven-inch. Opening with a perfectly clean and uplifting guitar figure, listeners will begin to feel the uncontrollable urge to pogo their faces off as all of the elements Caiiro Foster have shown off between “Lou Ferrigno” and “People Mover” – the blazing/elating/provoking guitars, the icy but perfectly reassuring synths, the solid but incendiary rhythm section – come together with a focused direction and clarity (literally – this is the only track in the run-time where it's possible to hear and understand all of the words) which will win listeners over and make more fans than the other two songs included could combined. In this one song, Caiiro Foster may have found all the elements they'd require to manage and model an entire career around; here, every time the guitars cross the keyboards, the effect is a chime – a combination loose-grooving indie rock and no-bullshit melodic hardcore – rather than a resolute thud. That would be enough to get “Bill Bixby” over, but the song also has the finest vocal performance and fullest lyric sheet of the lot; listeners will find themselves desperately trying to re-align the styluses on on their turntables perfectly in order to get another pristine run-through of the song after it leads the record out.

So, being able to hear Caiiro Foster's evolution-by-the-minute as they can on the People Mover 7'', there's no doubt that anyone who is exposed to this single will want to know where the band is headed next. As much of an evolutionary movement as it very clearly is, the band is in the unique position of trying to decide which of the distinctly different avenues that these three songs represent they're going to pursue on whatever they record next. Anyone who hears the People Mover 7'' will agree that it's an interesting question, and they'll be back to find out what the answer is, guaranteed.



Caiiro Foster's People Mover 7'' is available as a pay-what-you-want download on the band' bandcamp site , or buy the 7'' at one of their shows.

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