Thursday, November 28, 2013

TRACK REVIEW: Canyons - "Human Pyramid" - (and January 2014 Tour)

Canyons from Fullerton, California have been on my musical radar screen since the summer of 2010. I remember being stunned a bit by their jagged compositions, shifting time signature and how damn hard Nicholas Nadel hits his drum kit (sometimes breaking it). While their music is not always easy to describe, to me, it has an art rock sensibility with alternative rock thrusts. In my mind they sound a bit like Smashing Pumpkins, MGMT, Modest Mouse and the Dresden Dolls all rolled into one.

Their 2010 self titled EP, still one of my favorite collections of music, was recently re-issued on Tape Cassette and is currently available for FREE DNLD at their Bandcamp page here. At that time they were Jeremy Leasure on Vocals and Guitar, Nicholas Nadel on Drums, Maegen Chaplin on Piano, Jared VanRamshorst on Guitar and vocals and Brandon Ralph on bass. Their sound often times hinged on lead lines playing off each other and Jared's backing vocals. In 2011 Jared and Brandon parted ways with Canyons leaving a hole of sorts. In an AP interview  with the band (since the inclusion of bassist Garrett La Bonte) Jeremy said, "This is a completely different band from the old EP... we're still getting adjusted to being this instead of 5 people... It made me step up. Actually all of us had to step up a lot. She had to sing (pointing to Maegen), I had to play more on guitar. We made it work."

And make it work they did. "Human Pyramid", one of the songs off of an upcoming single is the first recorded look at their new sound. It is a moody, brooding piece crawling along like someone traversing an unknown area. It is built on slow languid sliding guitar and piano rhythms. The spartan production with the heavy handed drumming and graceful bass lines build an emotional framework to contain the lyrical content that is sung by Jeremy and Maegen trading off verses and only verses. "Human Pyramid" contains no chorus. The 4 verses emotionally spill  out sounding like mournful questions possibly about a personal relationship or maybe our relationship with the universe at large. After the 4 verses the music does the emoting becoming quite large, tumultuous and in the end, beautiful.

- Robb Donker

You can DNLD and view lyrics here

 Also be sure and check out Canyons Indiegogo funding campaign to raise money for a tour with Fugue-

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