Published on September 18th, 2009 | by Rob Cumiskey5
CODES. – Trees Dream in Algebra
CODES are a band that understands the benefit of the words ‘Gradual Progression’.
In this age of instant gratification and viral culture, trends, fame and, most importantly for CODES – music, rise and fall by the day. One minute a band is on top of the world, and the next, they’re has-beens.
So, it’s refreshing to come across a band that have taken 2 years, 3 singles and a long recording process with Greg Haver (Manics, SFA) and mastering by Greg Calbi (U2,Interpol,Kings of Leon), before they released their very impressive debut album.
Trees Dream In Algebra is one of the most accomplished and subtle debuts that I’ve heard from an Irish band in recent times, and one of the few groups that could be called mature beyond their years
The album begins with lifting synths, frantic drums and atmospheric/space like vocals and effects. We’re getting ready for blast-off and it’s an excellent way to prepare us for what is about to come. Vocalist Daragh Anderson gives us a taste of his scaled back and subtle approach to singing before the album moves quickly into fourth gear.
Anybody that listens to the radio will have heard the infectiously catchy ‘This Is Goodbye’. With its excellent piano riff, subtle verse and sing-a-long-able chorus, this one was destined to be a hit from the start.
Next up is the highlight of the album. ‘Guided By Ghosts’ is explosive in its execution. The song is near perfect fantastic thanks to incredible percussion from Paul Reilly. Goosebumps will appear on your arms as the song moves into an emotional climax with its larger than life chorus. Fantastic stuff.
‘Our Mysteries’ slows proceedings down a bit, but that’s OK. The album has left us a little breathless so far. Some lovely, if slightly over-used glockenspiel moves into the Muse esque ‘In Algebra’ and things blast back into action. This one’s another highlight, infecting your mind with some great hooks. The loud/soft technique works to great effect here, making the listener be patient for the explosion that is to come near the end.
‘Telos’ could be the soundtrack to any Sci-Fi blockbuster, and one wonders how long it will take for some studio bigwig to pick these guys up.
Thematically, CODES are spot on too. It’s great to have an album that doesn’t treat its listener like an idiot. By using the theme of winter, ‘Trees Dream In Algebra’ draws on themes of life, death and love in the most subtle yet dazzling way possible.
If I was to be a little critical, the album begins to tire and lose its teeth a little as it draws to a close. Songs like ‘Memorial’, ‘Starry-Eyed’, although bringing in some very interesting time-sequences and beautiful soundscapes, are re-using ideas that have already been heard at the beginning of the album.
Another single ‘Cities’ resurrects the end of the album with some grandiose Arcade Fire riffage, and ‘You are Here’ reminds us of some of Keane’s more interesting music.
Overall, CODES can be proud of what they’ve achieved here. They have managed to release an album that tops many other Irish bands’ debuts and will hopefully stand the test of time as being one of the more thoughtful and original releases that these shores have seen. Big things lie ahead.
Trees Dream in Algebra is released today and available from iTunes and all good record stores.
CODES. are coming to a venue near you soon.