While Cairns is less renowned than its members’ other projects (Caley Conway, Temple, Calliope, YLLA, D’Amato, and Gauss, among them), the band has quietly managed an impressive catalog in its two-plus years on the scene. The unsung endeavor started by multi-instrumentalist John Larkin has been gradually adding contributors and playing out with more frequency.
Their influence can be clearly heard on the first two songs of Cairns’ splendid forthcoming EP, Cluttered Sky. Though Larkin’s new collaborators are helping to take things in a new and exciting direction, he also had some notable unreleased compositions he wanted to get out of the world.
Spanning six songs and roughly 28 minutes, Cluttered Sky starts with, “GravGod,” the shorter of the pair of full-band offerings. Larkin’s hushed vocals are enveloped amid a quiet cacophony of splashy percussion, smooth guitar, and soulful sax. After the aptly-named “Atmosphere” ends the selection of new material, the record gives way to Larkin’s self-described “bedroom recordings” he did over a span of a few years. Short and stripped down, the predominately instrumental batch of two-minute recordings (and the 5:30-long “Clutter”) are reminiscent of the lo-fi atmospheric sheen listeners would expect from The American Analog Set or The One AM Radio.
Before Cairns releases Cluttered Sky at Weather Center in Sheboygan on March 9 and a March 10 show at a Milwaukee house venue called Blood Lounge, listen to three songs now.