Cairo Knife Fight – Iron (song review)

Reviewed by Joe Dodgshun

Trying to incorporate influences of The Eagles, Genesis, The Beatles and The Carpenters, would probably eventuate in one pretty messed up spag bol tangle of a musical outfit. Thankfully, Christchurch band Cairo Knife Fight has but one standout commonality with these all greats; a singing drummer.

The pivotal piping stickman, Nick Gaffaney, initially keeps his multitasking musical skills under wraps in the formative stages of Cairo Knife Fight’s first single ‘Iron’, instead showcasing a soulful grasp of lead vocal duties over rolling stabs of staccato guitar and subtle keys. Things get interesting with initiation of bass drum and hi hat action, a taste of country flavour in the form of rambling acoustic rhythms and the crawling presence of lone strings of persevering lead delay.

With both pace and tone ascending in urgency, Gaffaney harmonises with Cairo Knife Fight’s two lovely female back-up singers, laying bare how to get what you want from this world (“You’ve got to have iron in your soul”, apparently), this strangely but surely reminding me of harmonising in The Pogues’ classic, ‘Fairytale of New York’.

The vocals/drums combination creates an interesting dynamic with more elaborate skins-work during simpler vocal periods and vice versa, and overall leads their first single to deliver a distinctive feel all of its own.


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