I don’t know how Portland’s newest shoegaze outfit decided on its name. They could be alliteration junkies, or fans of the worst Indiana Jones movie. But I prefer to think they were inspired by a real place in Utah called Crystal Canyon, which sits at the edge of a ghost town called Diamond. Both places were named for the shimmering gems that dotted the landscape, drawing treasure-seekers from miles around. When those gems turned out to be worthless quartz, everybody abandoned the place. Crystal Canyon often evokes the grand, sparkling expanse of terrain like this. On extended tracks like “Only In A Daydream” and “Sometimes Summertime,” slow, undulating tempos support widescreen guitar riffs, which refract into rainbows when they hit your ears. As Lynda Mandolyn and Todd Hutchisen sing placidly through the haze, their lullaby tones make the vastness feel less empty, as safe as dreams. If this is sounding a bit too ethereal for your liking, worry not. Mandolyn sang in the Bay Area riot grrrl band Fabulous Disaster, and her influence adds just the right amount of grit. “She Shines” is a snappy three-minute thrasher that feels half as long and sets things up nicely for the next swirling dreamscape, making this Crystal Canyon a lot like the original – it’s not every day that rock shimmers like this.
— Joe Sweeney