Empty Rooms

by Nikki Tranter

16 February 2003


There's nothing for me to say

I hope Brendan Butler and the Canyon boys were trying to be funny on the press release for their latest dark and dreary album, Empty Rooms. If it is, in fact, an attempt to endear the review to the band by sending out a linguistically creative, somewhat poetic introduction to the new album, then good for them. It’s a little disjointed and extremely long-winded, often incongruous, but, hey, it’s different.

If the band is serious—which is my impression—then the thing is four paragraphs of pretentious bull-twang that makes me want to toss their record out my window and let the boys drown in their own self-importance. If this is how they seriously think of themselves, then they don’t need me or anyone else to play up what they believe to be their strong points. They have, in essence, written what they believe to be the perfect review of their album. They don’t need me at all.

cover art


Empty Rooms

(Gern Blansten)
US: 15 Oct 2002
UK: Available as import

Let’s explore: the press release begins—

“In search of international citizenship, through the cloudy waters and endless highways of the circuit that’s been home to every hero you’ve had.” Okay, sure. I’m a little confused, but like I said, it’s different. It goes on: “This is a long journey surrounded by troubled friends and aspiring supermodels, and when you forbid any more photos of yourself, for the same reason you used to find them funny, you bit the hand that feeds you and go start another band.”

So, what you’re saying is your friends kinda suck, inspiring you to write some detrimental lyrics about them, not to mention all your girlfriends who are always stunning? And, that’s you’re far too vain to have your picture taken anymore, you possibly pissed off a fellow band member (but, from what it sounds like, it was whoever supplied the dough) and you had to go create Canyon with what was left of your dignity (i.e., bank account)? Am I right so far?

Next you hit me with the gem: “A youth prison is the crowd you’ve always dreamed of . . .” The best audience is that of young hooligans. Got it. The next bit says you want to be compared to George Harrison, right? If not then I have no idea what “These are the new rules, sent down the river that lodged; gates of Eden; the losing end, small change, George Harrison, robo, 2001 and 10, black russians, jack and his girl ginger, in the reeds where the pharaohs’ [sic] daughters found them and raised them as their own” is supposed to mean. In all honesty, this is where you lost me.

This is also the point when the press release begins to sound, not only trite and confusing, but snarky and conceited: “Canyon began on the stairs between three parties on two balconies, between the zoo and the pharmacy, where deep discussion during five-dollar cab rides revealed an odd quest for leaving.”

Is it just me? If I’m wrong here, I’m willing to admit it. Would it have been at all difficult to just say, “Canyon are a few guys from wherever who dug music about the shitty things in life.” Seriously, would it? I mean, it as if I am being told that whoever wrote this stuff can write a far better review of Canyon’s album that I can. Look at how clever we are, just try and be as witty!


Well, if the Canyon boys believe they can write a better review of their album than I can, let’s let them do it.

“Canyon’s second, Empty Rooms is 10 songs, 43 minutes of spacious American music, written in August 2001. The album reveals the headlong dive into the experiment, offering a panoramic view into the night and the slower days of supernatural psychic wars. The stories of journeys, bitter talk in the backrooms of weddings, love at the bottom of the sea, and the ultimate resurfacing you’ll have to survive in order to keep the moon off your back and the cross off your heel.” (Canyon press release, 2002).

Hey, you know what? You’re right, Canyoneros, I couldn’t have done a better job.

Topics: empty rooms

//Mixed media

Keeping Dry Under Storm Clouds: An Interview with Sleaford Mods

// Sound Affects

"When asked what can help counteract the worldwide growth of xenophobia and racism, Sleaford Mods' singer Jason Williamson states simply, "I think it's empathy, innit?"

READ the article