With their debut album Trees Dream In Algebra being nominated for the 2009 Irish Choice Music Prize, Codes shouldn’t really be introduced as a new band at all. We're stretching the idea of newness to its extreme here - especially as the band were formed in 2007. Yet ask a significant proportion of music aficionados in the UK or anywhere else outside of Ireland where Breaking More Waves has measurable readership (hello US, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Germany in particular) if they have heard of Codes and the chances are you’ll get a negative response. So maybe they are new to you ?
We’ve posted on the group before, as part of our involvement judging the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. However in terms of a fuller blog post we’ve never given the band the attention they deserve. So today we’re addressing that error. It’s an appropriate moment to further highlight the band, in particular to UK readers, as the group are playing two low-key dates in London next week.
Codes use synths and electronica but they are fundamentally an indie rock band. Their sound is vast and cinematic, full of epic explosive climaxes, stadium sonics and moments of brilliant barmy pop. On Trees Dream In Algebra you’ll hear voices from out-of-space, soundscape atmospherics, skyscraping ‘woah-oh-oh’ chants, layered guitars and adventurous full on rock drumming that may make you think you’ve stumbled upon a long lost Muse demo, albeit one that’s been tempered with a softer melodic sensibility last heard on Keane’s earlier records. Lyrically too there’s lots of ambitious references. On Memorial lead singer Daragh sings of reaching out for satellites from the high rise and climbing chandeliers into the atmosphere. Elsewhere on Starry Eyed they hang on to boundless concepts of taking flight and limitless horizons; it’s as widescreen as the arrangements of the songs are. Codes produce what Mike Scott of The Waterboys once called the ‘big music’, in every sense. It’s why they were one of our Glastonbury nominations – their music seems perfect for a huge stage.
The danger for Codes in terms of gaining UK exposure is that it may not be the ‘right’ time for the music they make. There’s a growing movement towards the hating of the big in rock and pop music. The wilfully small scale lo-fi laptop producer or obtuse indie rock n roll band is celebrated as being brilliantly challenging and exciting, even although many of these artists are utterly generic and no more creative than the likes of Coldplay or The Kings of Leon. Any sort of success or perceived ambition is seen in some quarters as a negative attribute - witness the backlash against the likes of Lana Del Rey or Ed Sheeran, yet the backlash is often targeted on the artists looks or major label status rather than the music. Furthermore the likes of Keane and Muse are seen as old-hat and any band that bears even a passing resemblance to their sound may find unwilling ears, such is the way that the fashion conscious music business works sometimes.
Whilst Breaking More Waves is fascinated with the rising tides of music and fashion, the show-stopping drama of Codes is beyond all of this. It deserves a chance outside of just Ireland. This is why we’re posting today.
Codes play London dates at the Bull & Gate on Oct 27 and then at 93 Feet East on Oct 31. If you’re anywhere near London, why not make the effort?Codes - This Is Goodbye