“If I tried to listen to an album with 10 dance songs, I’d be pretty bored by the third track,” says Leo Thomson, one of the multi-instrumentalists behind Canyons. (Fellow Perth native/Hole In the Sky co-founder Ryan Grieve is the other.) “That’s why we don’t want to be pigeonholed as a ‘dance/electronic act’ or ‘DJs/producers’ – because we’re two musicians exploring a creative energy that could end up just about anywhere.”
That’s certainly the case on the Australian duo’s long-awaited album, “Keep Your Dreams”. True to its title, it unfolds like a feverish series of frantic chords, loose synth lines and macerated drum machines (“The Bridge”); sun-bleached sitars, hypnotic hooks and sandblasted saxophones (“And We Dance”); and increasingly blurry blends of what’s live and programmed, a balance that was first struck on last year’s “My Rescue” single alongside POND frontman Nick Albrook. He wasn’t the only guest, either. Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker also floats through the psych-pop ether of “Tonight,” rounding out a guest list that includes members of Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez), the Embassy (Fredrik Liston) and the classic British rock band Sniff ‘n’ the Tears (Paul Roberts).
Don’t get the wrong idea, though. “Keep Your Dreams” is Canyons’ directorial debut, from the broad, abstract brush strokes of “Circadia” to the deftly-layered beat-less passages of “Land In Between.” Like “Tonight” and the locked glitter ball grooves of “When I See You Again,” it goes against the dance-centric grain of the group’s first couple releases (2008’s “The Lovemore EP”, a DFA-endorsed 12-inch called “Fire Eyes”), although there’s certainly some floor-fillers on here as well (the laser-cut house loops of “See Blind Through,” the peak-hour breaks of “Blue Snakes”).
“It’s all coming from the same place as our previous records,” explains Ryan, “But everything’s done with the listener in mind this time. Some of it sounds like how we originally imagined it, and some of it doesn’t. What’s nice is that we can still listen to it as a whole, and aren’t sick of it after living with everything 24/7 for the past two years.”
Canyons will keep evolving over the coming year, too, as they develop a special audio/visual show that’s free of computers and full of live loops from a six-piece band. And while “Keep Your Dreams” took nearly two years to complete, Ryan and Leo are already planning on sparking Album No. 2 overseas…