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Album Review: Canyons – Keep Your Dreams

Canyons Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomsen from down under (Sydney) bring to us their much awaited debut album ‘Keep Your Dreams’ via Modular Records. Having heard a mixed bag of good and bad opinions, and having a wondering mind, I definitely couldn’t wait to fill my ears with opinionative sounds – So here we go; Canyons ‘Keep Your Dreams’ – It’s normal to say the least – attempts on exploring creative energy with new sounds and new tricks. I can’t help but feel slightly annoyed. With all their work involved in dance music the last thing I would expect is for some of their strongest tracks to sound like a band more than an actual production duo.

Opening this long awaited album brings the abstract, polishing strokes of ‘Circadia’ with its shining delusional array beaming through the speakers that give way for ‘Under a Blue Sky’. Firstly, I feel lost with it. Is it supposed to have funk? The slap bass sure isn’t helping, it’s making it seem rigid. And what’s the deal with the French gibberish and the overloaded sax? I’m quite sure there are no African robotic baguette shops about…I hope. Moving on to ‘My Rescue’ – which it  is, comes the familiar slaps of African percussion that compliment the 80s dancing beat which soon enters into a more favourable lyrical side of the album.

At this moment I just can’t put my finger on it – i feel like there something not right with this album? ‘See Blind Through’ & ‘The Bridge’ do echo late 80s Chicago house music with its elements of brittle synthesizers, and the cut up of bass and vocals which coalesce into their most original style. And ‘Blue Snakes’ is a stand out – with a menacing air and mesmerising beats, which all come together with its howling vocal sample. I just think that it’s unnecessary for the two aussie’s to fill the album with essences of soft rock, as in ‘Sun & Moon’. ‘When I See You Again’ & ‘Tonight’, however, is a shaft of bewildered sunlight, all bright acoustics and summery beats, taking us to that ideal place filled with hot sandy beaches and humid nights that we just love.

Even though Grieve and Thomsen are talented producers and remixers, as well as musicians – I suppose they just got carried away with the whole album. It’s in a state of limbo between dance and rock music. Overall, ‘Keep Your Dreams’ has had its ups and its downs – I guess there just comes a time where you should instinctively know when to stop adding layers of sounds to tracks. It’s been totally surprising. I’m intrigued to find out what’s going to happen with their next piece of work.

-  Thomas Morse

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