Great American Canyon Band Releases Excellent Debut Album

9 Jun

There must be something about Baltimore. The same wonderful, vibrant city that produced the dream-pop duo, Beach House, has now launched another intriguing duo that calls themselves, Great American Canyon Band.

Great American Canyon Band consists of husband and wife, Paul and Kris Masson, joined by several other musicians when recording or touring. According to the duo’s website, Paul and Kris traversed across the country for several years — spending time in Athens, Georgia; tucked away in the Hollywood Hills in Southern California; and enduring a cold winter in Chicago. They released an EP in the spring of 2012. But Kris and Paul eventually returned to Baltimore, where they recorded and released their debut album, Only You Remain..

It’s not easy to define the band’s sound in a single statement. The sweeping soundscapes that come and go in the duo’s ten-song set pay homage to the shoegaze genre. But a number of the songs also have an alternative rock edge — with a radio-friendly sound that beckons the listener. The final element is an indie folk influence that can be heard in the comfortable instrumentation used in the arrangements. However one wants to label the sound, it’s compelling music that speaks to the soul.

Only You Remain opens with the positive affirmation of the title track. A rapid bass line provides the song’s driving force. A big, airy cathedral-like chorus returns again and again. Paul and Kris sing the power lead, “Time will only try to break your heart/This world will only try to break us apart/It will never break us apart, break us apart/Will never break us apart, break us apart.”

“Crash” is the lead single from the album. It’s a slow-burn torch song, with Paul and Kris singing to one another, “Don’t let me fall through/As I crash into you.”

The third track on the album is another of my favorites. “Come Home” starts with four slow stanzas of a chorus singing majestic, reverbed “Ahhs.” But then, the duo bolts into a bounding romp that features a great bass line, thumping bass drum, tambourine, and a catchy guitar riff that repeats infectiously.

One other track I’ll mention is “Broken Glass.” This features Kris on the lead. It’s slower and more reflective — with big power chords, organ, and ultimately a huge ending. It definitely leaves an impression.

Only You Remain from Great American Canyon Band is a very promising first full album from a duo with a lot of potential. I can’t wait to hear where their travels take them in the future.



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