Alien8 Recordings has become one of my favorite labels over the past few years. Their name has become synonymous with good experimental music. With their latest act, Soft Canyon, the label is focusing more on the psychedelic rock they’ve released in the past, mostly similar to that of Acid Mothers Temple. Soft Canyon is a band of rock musicians that have recently sprouted from their former band named Tricky Woo. They come from Montreal, Canada and appear to be an unusual choice for their new label.
The comparisons are easy when discussing Broken Spirit, I Will Mend Your Wings. Late sixties/early seventies psych-rock is the basic genre that is explored here. Influences range anywhere from early Pink Floyd to even more current acts like The Warlocks. The band uses several guitars to give their sound a richer tone. As for the rest of the setup, well, it’s pretty characteristic: drums, bass, and vocals.
Soft Canyon comes across as a band that simply enjoys the basic, fun-loving old days of rock-n-roll. As the album progresses, it slowly becomes richer with texture, but never really goes as far as it should. The first three tracks seem to have nothing that really makes the album memorable. However, once “Rare Bird Indeed” begins, things start to warm up and lead down a path that should have been explored sooner. The last track, “We Threw Our Love Into the Universe” is undoubtedly the shining moment here. It’s the longest track and one that captures the true essence of what Broken Wings could have been had this been the desired focal point.
Most importantly, there is just not much in the way of “psychedelia” as an overall album, which I believe is the main intent behind the album. The music is great for about the last ten minutes, but not enough to stand up to the many other incredibly experimental works from Alien8 Recordings or the thousands of other similar albums that have come before it.
1. For You
2. Mongrel Love
3. Hope's Great Divide
4. Send Me Your Love
5. Kaleidoscope Mountain
6. With My Back To the Sun
8. I Have Salmon Arms
9. Rare Bird Indeed
10. The Illumination of You
11. We Threw Our Love Into the Universe