In the desire to update this more regularly, I’ve decided to revive a feature that I’d considered early on: every Sunday, I’ll recommend and briefly review both sides of an old seven-inch (or its modern equivalent.) One of my criteria will be that you can find them on YouTube and give them a virtual spin… I think it might be a great way to introduce people to new bands.
Today, I’d like to recommend a rather gonzo disc, from a failed Canadian psych-rock band from whom I’ve only ever heard these two songs.
From the album “Ellis Island,” their last, comes “Cairo Hotel,” a chamber-pop ballad about a man dying alone at Christmas-time. It’s a dark song, but I like it a lot. It has an existential sadness to it: “All his friends sat down to dinner/they agreed it was a shame… that the price of milk was going up again./They mentioned him in sympathy, then threw away his name/and they haven’t thought to mention it since then.” The refrain is nice, as is the baroque-style orchestral break.
“Pick us up, blow us round,” the singer asks the city wind, “but lead us to our rooms again.”
The B-side is a rather biting parody of 50’s and 60’s U.S. country music, “Another Man’s Hair on my Razor.” It’s pretty nicely constructed, a murder ballad where the narrator, a truck driver, gets home to find that someone else has been shaving with his razor… and he’s still there. “But the last stroke of the razor fell to me,” the refrain goes, which works in multiple ways, I think.
So which one wins? You tell me.