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Over the last few years Cairo Pythian has made a name for itself crafting a distinctive brand of ’80s UK synth-pop worship, while expanding that sound to incorporate more diverse elements of industrial and new wave. The two biggest touchstones for Cairo Pythian are Soft Cell and The Human League. Never truly a pastiche, Cairo Pythian synthesizes these ideas and aesthetics to create something that feels fresh in the 21st century yet deeply rooted in its influences. On Touched, released by Katorga Works, we find the project at its most ambitious with standout tracks like the epic “Playboi Blues” and the phenomenal title number—“Touched” stands as Cairo Pythian’s finest achievement to date and one of the year’s best tracks. “Yesterday’s Makeup” sounds like a bedroom version of Pulp’s Britpop, before it’s overtaken by swells of feedback and guitar. The rest of the album similarly reconfigures these tropes to create songs that are catchy as hell. Touched stands as another fine example of the music coming from the Perennial crew.

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