Back in March, Cairns released Cluttered Sky, a splendid sextet of songs that ranged from some previously unreleased “bedroom recordings” to intricate and vibrant new material with bandleader John Larkin (currently in Gauss, Caley Conway Band and formerly of YYLA, Temple, and Calliope) being joined by an impressive new cast of collaborators. Less than nine months after clearing out untouched material and breaking in his newfound live ensemble, Larkin is ready to follow up that outstanding EP with an even more remarkable Cairns full-length.
Entanglement is the three-year-old project’s first true album. The 12-song release brings Larkin’s careful and restrained vocals together with his admirable musicianship and uncanny knack for arrangement. The project’s founder played almost everything on the album—an impressive assemblage of instruments that includes guitars, synth, drums, trumpet, and trombone—and presides over artful, atmospheric compositions with complex time signatures and ever-changing moods that rise and fall without warning (perhaps best illustrated in the title track). As technically stunning as the album is from front to back, Entanglement still manages to somehow cull beauty and emotion from the cacophony of divergent sounds and rhythms throughout the 40-minute effort. Entanglement might be one of Milwaukee’s last releases of 2018, and it’s certainly one of the best.
Larkin and the Cairns live ensemble will release Entanglement at Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery on Thursday, December 6. Marielle Allschwang & the Visitations and Old Earth will play in support. Pre-sale tickets are $7, and include a digital download of Cairns’ new album. Prior to that release show, you can listen to three songs from Entanglement below.