[6th November 2012]
01. Flowermouth (The Leech)
02. Around My Neck // On My Head
03. Sleep (I’ve Been Slipping)
04. Liars // Trudge
05. Colors (Into Nothing)
06. Nothing (The Rat)
07. Roots Are Certain // Sky Is Empty
08. Choices (Love Is Love)
09. Calm // Breathe
10. Bloom (Return To Dust)
It’s well documented that Deathwish Inc. know their stuff. Aside from the fact that head honcho Jacob Bannon fronts Converge, one of the most successful, well-respected hardcore bands of the last twenty years – for twenty years – one look at their roster displays a plethora of acts brimming with passion and talent: Touché Amore, Loma Prieta, Narrows and Trap Them among many that are adored by many more.
So when Deathwish announced the signing of Pennsylvanian four-piece Code Orange Kids in January this year, quite a few people pricked up their ears and took notice. I did not, but more fool me, because ten months later, after a punishing tour schedule that has seen the band spend almost more time on the road that off it, touring with and matching bands like Defeater, Xerxes, and the above mentioned label mates Amore and Narrows, their debut album Love Is Love // Return To Dust has been released, and I now realise what I’ve been missing.
Part of my hesitancy was this: hardcore is difficult to do well, and I’ve been burned many times before. All too often there’s a lot of one-dimensional drumming, and the furious riffing just isn’t enough. Compound this with your peers no doubt tuning into bad deathcore and the most vanilla of seven-string staccato strumming, and that Code Orange Kids are so young (eighteen on average, and together for about four years already) makes the fact that this album brims with such dirty punk ire and infectious originality all the more impressive.
Channeling instead the likes of old timers like Bannon’s ‘verge in the pounding depths of ‘Choices (Love Is Love)’ and the tone in ‘Nothing (The Rat)’, or Botch in the dissonance of ‘Flowermouth (The Leech)’, it’s no surprise that this album is has such a nostalgic feel to it; the kind of disaffected and desperate foot-stomping aggression that we went wild for before two-stepping and the windmilling arms of every seventeen year-old hardman made you take your own two steps back from the pit and grumble into your beer. Even the quivering post-rock atmosphere of ‘Calm // Breathe’ bestows a certain feeling, right up until the moment the churning, chainsaw-like guitar sound of closer ‘Bloom (Return To Dust)’ brings one final crushing note to the proceedings – itself finishing so abruptly that you find yourself wanting much more than the twenty-eight or so minutes provide.
Speaking of post-rock, the album is beautifully cut by ‘Colors (Into Nothing)‘, serving as a delicate lull in the proceedings, in the tradition that screamo greats City Of Caterpillar and Circle Takes The Square set forth; the pinch that makes the punch more meaningful.
Love Is Love // Return To Dust makes me feel like a newborn hardcore fan; that rebellious teenager once more, full of simultaneous anger and wonder. It’s full of a translatable energy that many struggle to put across on record, and I can only imagine that their live show matches it. That these relative youngsters are able to provide such verve so early in their career is both encouraging and a fresh reminder that there is always hope for the future of the scene.