Formerly solo producers under the guises of Leo Holiday and Ryan Sea-mist, Sydney-based duo the Canyons have since been lumped into the same retro synth pop category as fellow Aussies Empire of the Sun and Gypsy & the Cat after joining forces two years ago. Their debut album, Keep Your Dreams, provides a few offerings that appear to justify the comparisons, such as the acoustic Balearic blues of "When I See You Again," the falsetto-led prog pop of "Sun and Moon," and the dreamy nu-disco of "Tonight," a favor-returning collaboration with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, whose band's debut EP was released under the pair's Hole in the Sky label. But as the unsettling industrial electronica of opener "Circadia" indicates, this is a much more experimental affair than their counterparts' mainstream output. "Under a Blue Sky" combines a pulsing indie disco bassline and tropical percussion with booming sax solos, wild animal noises, and trippy French-sung vocals; "See Blind Through" is a convincing throwback to the early '90s with its sparse acid house beats, squelchy arcade game synths, and chopped-up soulful samples; while "My Rescue" is an ode to the feeling when inspiration strikes set against a backdrop of pounding piano chords, tribal rhythms, and MGMT-esque pop melodies. This slightly avant-garde approach doesn't always reap the same compelling rewards. "The Bridge" sounds like a self-indulgent jam session, underpinned by an annoying buzzing wasp-like sound effect, while the least interesting track, "And We Dance," meanders on for eight minutes without producing anything of note other than a few distant sitars and squealing sax riffs. But in a scene that is becoming increasingly crowded, Keep Your Dreams is, for the most part, a breath of fresh air suggesting that two pairs of Aussie DJ hands are certainly better than one.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien