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Jon & Vangelis - The Friends Of Mr. Cairo CD (album) cover


Jon & Vangelis


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3.31 | 106 ratings

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4 stars It's 1980 and Jon Anderson from a fumbling YES joins up with VANGELIS who was both benefactor and beneficiary of the soundtrack era. The strategy worked brilliantly for one album, that incorporated modern (at the time) electronica and pop into a progressive concept. "Friends of Mr Cairo" was not a huge American hit but sparked pockets of J&V mania including Ottawa where I spent college years. The title cut was ubiquitous for quite some time, and it is testament to the quality of this sprawling ode to classic Hollywood that one could always find something new to enjoy each time it was aired.

Of course, now the artificiality of the settings makes the album sound more dated than many of its contemporaries, and the harder rock of "Back to School" will never be mistaken for any of the true classics along scholastic themes, while "Mayflower" and, to a lesser extent, "Outside and Inside", float in that pre-Enya sort of way. But "State and Independence" and "Beside" remain exemplary in their expressions of either side of the Jon and Vangelis ledger - faux rhythmic biting commentary and melodic and angelic odes - both of which they tackle better than most.

Dated constructions and instrumentation notwithstanding, and allowing for the excesses of the era, "Friends of Mr Cairo" clears a path for quality music during the dimmest part of a dark era, using the timeless standbys of quality songwriting and arranging that worked in the previous decade.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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