The Cellar, Oxford
16th December 2003

I am very pleasantly surprised by Cayto. For all their proselytising and “Cayto Ministry of Exploitation” manifesto propaganda (“All sounds will be heard”, “Hate your instrument” etc), I am expecting four loud jumpy shouty Glaswegians with a gripe against the world. But what I get is a hybrid of more styles than I thought possible, all strung together in a very thoughtful way.

Singer Paul Henry’s piano plays a prominent part in the proceedings – at times making them a modest Muse without the histrionic vocals, at other times making them Faith No More playing a prog rock sea shanty with Randy Newman on frantic piano pounding (like on C’Mere). They are not only stylistically versatile but also musically accomplished, forceful yet restrained – they made it sound too easy, even maybe over-rehearsed at times. Paul apologises for being scrappy, but they might just be a little too tight. Their fondness for theatrically varying time signatures, key signatures and tempo keeps them interesting, but pulls them too close at times to self-indulgent jazz; they’re never too dischordant or dissonant, but do sometimes ramble – progressing from XTC melodies via U2-like reverb to Metallica riffs and choruses. Guitarist Nobby looks to be riffing off into his own world, especially on Spiders – a song Paul says is even weirder than all their other songs, though this is maybe playing down how weird the others are.

It’s hard to tell their influences, and whether they’re trying to be one thing through the medium of another, or just doing whatever they want. It’s a shame they play so few songs because I would be very interested in hearing the rest of their repertoire; it seems like we have only had a tiny peek into Caytoworld tonight, and there is a whole world of melded styles and strange chord sequences out there.


From Nightshift, January 2004