Canyons – Keep Your Dreams

written by: February 3, 2012
Release Date: January 31st, 2012


This has been the year of some stellar 1980s-throwback electronic albums. In the past few years, hazy synthesizer made its resurgence, and now harmonized vocals are basically a necessity. Australian duo Canyons followed this trend with their debut LP Keep Your Dreams but only manage to be successful in a few tracks.

Canyons is slightly jumbled and, at times, sloppy. This might honestly be the point, though. One minute, jungle animals are chiming in, and the next, a gritty saxophone goes on a tangent. Electronic music of any kind should not only allow, but also encourage dancing, and Keep Your Dreams inhibits it nearly too often.

Sydney-based Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomson make up the disco duo obsessed with collaged music. As any DJ duo, these two can creatively weave cultures and soundscapes into one. But these Aussies weirdly blend Chicago house with ‘80s synth, tribal beats and a bunch of other random sounds together. It’s a hodge-podge if nothing less, especially on “Under a Blue Sky.”

It starts off sounding good with a poppy bassline. Toe tapping ensues and maybe even a little head bob. Wait, is that an elephant? Yes, it is. Then, creepy vocals chime in and something strange begins to happen. A whistling saxophone takes over and lands on repeat for quite some time. “Under a Blue Sky” seems like Canyons are simultaneously recording and playing Jumanji. Let’s hope they get out alive.

It’s not all strange, though. “See Blind Through” is an ode to ‘80s Chicago house music with echoed vocals layered on top of basslines, circulating keyboard and danceable beats, while the next track, “Sun and Moon,” is a groovy retro jam with funky sax and high-pitched vocals.

Canyons is a complicated, two-toned multiple-personality. It’s like a little kids wearing everything in the closet because their mommy gave them the option to wear whatever they want. Putting everything on at once just doesn’t make sense.

“When I See You Again” is a little unsure of itself. The vocals are reminiscent of contemporary pop, and the strings range from country-tinged to tightly woven Spanish licks. This track comes on the down-turned second half of the album. Their maximalist attitude is overturned by steady beats and simplistic sounds that linger for the remainder of Keep Your Dreams.

Canyons seemed to have a grasp on what they were trying to accomplish, but the execution was a little sour. Even though we are living in the age of multi-taskers, Canyons’ shouldn’t take it too literally. Cleaning up the sound and deleting some of those tasks could result in an epic second release.

 Canyons – Keep Your Dreams tracklist:

  1. “Circadia”
  2. “Under a Blue Sky”
  3. “My Rescue”
  4. “See Blind Through”
  5. “Sun and Moon”
  6. “The Bridge”
  7. “Blue Snakes”
  8. “Tonight”
  9. “When I See You Again”
  10. “And We Dance”
  11. “Land in Between”