Release Date: Jan 31, 2012
Record label: Modular Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Being students of dance music's rich history is nothing new, but the Australian duo, Canyons, take wistfulness to a new level. They forge their statement on Keep Your Dreams with throbbing, disco basslines, soaring sax-solos, and brittle, excavated synthesizers. These elements coalesce into beautiful machines on their most direct throwbacks "Under a Blue Sky," "See Blind Through," and "Blue Snakes"—but elsewhere they don't want it as easily.
Bad timing that Canyons released Keep Your Dreams in the same year M83 and Cut Copy finally put out new albums. I've already read several naysayers make comparisons to both of those acts, in order to dismiss Canyons out of hand, but the connection strikes me as both obvious and inexact. True, Canyons have got a taste for the brittle and buzzing tones of early synthesizer music, just like Anthony Gonzalez and crew.
Canyons didn’t need to open their debut, Keep Your Dreams, with two minutes of cresting atmospherics. But then, the Perth natives also didn’t need to bedazzle the first proper track, “Under the Blue Sky”, with Italo-style synth stabs, exotic pet sounds, a wailing sax, and sweet nothings in a francophone baritone. Such is par for course, though, for the album, which revels in the novel tawdriness of disco.
Australians Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomsen, also known as production duo Canyons, have remixed everyone from Ladyhawke to The Juan MacLean, but they’re just now finally getting around to releasing a debut LP of original music. In order to accomplish their weirdo electronic vision, they’ve drafted members of Nite Jewel, The Embassy, Sniff ‘n the Tears, and Tame Impala. Keep Your Dreams attempts to pull off a nearly impossible feat: trying to somehow combine the shamanistic grandiosity of MGMT with the electro-pulse of !!!.
It’s become apparent that contemporary albums that fall into the wayward category of Interesting Dance have started to follow a template, opening with a slow build, adding lines and gussying those glittery atmospherics for about a minute, before dropping into some straightforward two-note bass line and trying to find a new way to count to four. After that, they range over their synths for 70 minutes while leaving no aural element digitally untreated, making sure to tackle any vocalists who wander into their studio thinking maybe it’s the restroom. I don’t mean that.
It feels like Australian music is popping up everywhere. Artists like Cut Copy, Gotye and Boy And Bear have conquered their continent and have started to make their way into the ears of listeners overseas, and as of this month the Perth-born and Sydney-based duo known as Canyons will be joining them on the list of Australia’s rising stars. Canyons’ synth-heavy debut LP, Keep Your Dreams, takes a dramatic, M83-like approach to what might be disco or maybe indie rock.Whatever it may be, Keep Your Dreams does not end in the same territory in which it starts.
Canyons - Australian duo Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomson - seem like very busy people. They started their own record label, signed Tame Impala, remixed acts including Juan Maclean and !!! and, as Canyons, have signed for Modular Records.Now comes Keep Your Dreams, an idiosyncratic exploration of a wide array of sounds and textures that pays no heed to fashion and is al the better for it. There are a head-spinning amount of styles thrown into the mix on this album with nearly as many guest vocalists (including Tame Impala, Nite Jewel, , Sniff ‘n the Tears and The Embassy).