Sir Canyon “Ventura Skies” (Independent, 2018)

For those not familiar with Sir Canyon, they are a collective of musicians fronted by former Hank Floyd member, Noah Lamberth. After his previous venture decided to call it quits after a series of high-profile support slots, Lamberth didn’t think he would continue with his music and pursued a brief career making documentaries and television shows however, after the loss of his father and a romantic breakup he began writing songs in his downtime, as a catharsis of sorts, and his friend and producer, Andy Davis encouraged him to record an album which (with the help of some former bandmates from his time in Katy Perry’s band) would eventually come to life as the mexican/surf/country record ‘Ventura Skies’.

On the record itself, whilst channeling the sounds of the LA/Laurel Canyon scene and without the pressure of any labels, Sir Canyon manage to achieve their own unique sound as they blends different styles of music and influences, seamlessly, which led the record to gain it’s own identity – a cinematic sound described by the group as “Cosmic Americana”.

The record begins with ‘Angeleno Daydream’, a song that begins with the familiar country sound of an acoustic guitar layered with an electric lead. Lamberth’s vocals have a certain laid-back delivery accented with reverb which add to the desert country sound of the track akin to Marty Stuart’s latest release, and conjure images of faraway places in the head of the listener. A Mexican influence can be heard as Mariachi horns kick off the brooding, building second track ‘Cindy, Come Over’, an upbeat song that doesn’t let up from start to finish and an early album highlight. ‘Golden Days’ kicks off with a bluesy swagger and builds into a falsetto chorus and from this early stage in the album it becomes apparent how much time has gone into creating of this record as they explore different influences to create a rich tapestry of sound whilst still always sounding like Sir Canyon.

Other album highlights include ‘Everything I Hate About Her’, a flamenco guitar ballad with a certain intimacy as Lamberth sounds like he could be in the room with you partly due to the honest production and the heartfelt lyrical content, ‘Burning Flame’ is another track with a brooding intensity built around a cyclical guitar riff and ‘I Think You’re Amazing’, a classic sounding LA country song.

The centrepiece is album namesake ‘Ventura Skies’ which begins with a downbeat bass line and whistling accompaniment into the now-familiar,reverb-ladenn vocal delivery of Lamberth and although there is no huge hook and the song keeps things steady throughout, the imagery of the song is enough to keep you coming back again and again as it is enough to transport you elsewhere for its 5 minute duration. The perfect song for a lazy summer’s day, ‘Ventura Skies’ is both the album highlight and is a songwriting masterclass for those that believe it’s all about having a catchy chorus.

In summary, this record is a wonderfully crafted and introspective set of songs and there is enough here, to satisfy fans of all avenues of the ever-broadening Americana genre, and music fans in general, until Sir Canyon release their next record.

9/10

Summary

Sir Canyon release their cinematic, mexican/surf/country debut and it’s simply brilliant. For fans of: good music!

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