Codes in the Clouds: Paper Canyon

Dan Johnson

Muted melodies and sonic crescendos of noise mix in the new album from British post rock outfit Codes in the Clouds

Codes in the Clouds

Paper Canyon

Label: Erased Tapes
US Release Date: 2009-06-23
UK Release Date: 2009-05-18

Paper Canyon paints a post rock portrait of genre-affirming big spaces and noisy finishes. The British quintet's debut studio album takes the genre’s traditions of big bass, live drums, and repetitive, lucid guitars and sets them on a noisy tangent. Blending elements of cacophonous noise and understated melodies, Codes in the Clouds use tense buildups in its songs like an artist painting with a brush: Every stroke of the guitar and every cymbal brush moves in eerie, long movements towards powerful finished songs that only become complete in their final overpowering moments. The pleasant formula of loopy down tempo starts and big, brash finishes anchor the first tracks on the album, “Fractures” and the playful march “Distant Street Lights”. Both tracks share this similar structure that builds toward an exciting zenith of soaring guitars and sternum-shaking bass with drawn-out tones and vibrancy that capture the band’s frenzy.

The album’s two final tracks, “You Are Not What You Think You Are” and “The Distance Between Us”, prove its most exciting, as the tracks build and break with stunted crescendos and lazy breaks that meander an exciting, sonic course. Each track extends over the nine-minute mark and offers a huge canvas for instrumental interplay. However, what makes Paper Canyon a great listen and a fine specimen of experimental post rock is its unpredictability. Long suites and tremendous cohesion work together for Codes in the Clouds, as a sonic blender swirls and swings melodies, tempos, and moody instrumental interplay for a chaotic milkshake of future post rock.

Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2018 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.