Codes In The Clouds

As The Spirit Wanes

Written by: DR on 23/02/2011 13:13:50

As a result of their promising debut "Paper Canyon", Codes In The Clouds were once upon a time the great hope for British post-rock. But that was a whole two years ago! Now, with 2010 bringing with it a boom in popularity for the genre, as the likes of Last Lungs, Blueneck, Her Name Is Calla and Goonies Never Say Die all put out excellent releases, Codes In The Clouds suddenly find themselves lagging behind the pack. "As The Spirit Wanes" is their chance to announce themselves among their contemporaries because, for arguably the first time, they now genuinely have them.

"Paper Canyon" was a debut if you ever heard one; it was fairly one-dimensional crescendo-core, and albeit with the occasional glimmer of quality in the form of tracks such as "“You Are Not What You Think You Are", suffered from inconsistency. What really held it back is how brash they were in flaunting their idols in front of your ears: Codes In The Clouds/Explosions In The Sky. Really? And it didn't just stop there, either - their sound was like a tribute to "The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place".

Codes... are still caught riding on the coat-tails of their heroes. For those who like nice, cinematic-post-rock, this won't be much of a problem - let's face it, who wouldn't like it? Nice is always nice. However, considering ETIS already did it and perfected it a few times over, nice might not be nearly enough.

And that is the case here. From the build-up to crescendo-exhale in opening "Where Dirt Meets Water", "As The Spirit Wanes" becomes too predictable in its approach, and they never deviate from it. This style of crescendo-based post-rock can stir sincere emotions of awe and excitement when glorious soundscapes emerge from patterns of fearless guitar-work, but Codes In The Clouds are not fearless or relentless in their pursuit of the magnificent; they're timid and withdrawn. "You And I Change Like Seasons" is just one of many tracks that may perk your interest on first listen, but as you repeat it and hope to delve further into it, it soons reveals itself to be shallow as a direct consequence of their unwillingness to step out of their comfort zone.

Still, there are still further glimmers of that potential they've been hoarding. "Cold Calls" has enough life in it during the first half of the track that you'll pay attention to the quiet closing, and "Washington" and "The Tragedian" are examples of those too-few moments when, despite ruggedly sticking to their format, they create something worth listening to.

This album is relatively condensed, clocking in at just under 40 minutes with most songs being around the four-minute mark, so in that respect it isn't a particularly challening or time-consuming album. It's just that this genre is now so popular that bands have to push the envelope to be genuinely worth listening to: "As The Spirit Wanes" stubbornly refuses to do so. Codes In The Clouds could barely have (unwittingly) picked a more appropriate title, for this release is not only lacking in character, but also spirit.

6

Download: Cold Calls, Washington
For The Fans of: Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy You's "Young Mountains, Moonlit Sailor
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 14.01.2011
Erased Tapes

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