It's hard not to watch Dublin four piece Codes- two members of which are based in Dublin, another two based in London- and not recall Bono's claim that U2 were always "a band of the future". Melodic, uniquely 21st century electronica layers Codes' anthems- in- waiting, some of which have clear nods to Achtung Baby- era U2, Doves and Snow Patrol. Indeed, its the aura, more than anything, that Codes generate that recalls the aforementioned bands. Singer/guitarist Daragh Anderson's opening arpeggiated notes, played through a Digitech Whammy IV pedal- favoured by the likes of Jonny Greenwood and Matt Bellamy- creates an intense, sci- fi- esque atmosphere that sets the tone for what follows.
Drawing largely from 2009's Trees Dream in Algebra, fan favorites such as You Are Here, Cities and This Is Goodbye- the latter of which loyal fans belt out as if it if their life depended on it- make up the share of the setlist, just as loyal fans make up the share of the audience. The band, however, also treat fans to songs from AALTARS, their sophomore effort due later in the year. AALTARS' flagship single ‘Astraea' signals at the band's development over the three years since thier Choice- nominated debut.
Mid way through the set, one can't help but feel that a clear formula for Codes' sound and tunes is emerging, leading to the set to become somewhat predictable. It's then that the band drop ‘Bleed Blue', a song on which bassist Eoin Stephens and guitarist / keys player Raymond Hogge take to percussion duties on a slow- burning tune that climaxes with crashing drums, hinting at another dimension to the band's sound.
Indeed, what sets Codes apart from many Irish bands in their league, tonight, is the drums. It's clear that Codes' recent addition, Niall Woods, who replaced Paul Reilly in Summer 2012, is the dynamo behind the band's sound, his ability to shift between standard, 4/4, rock / pop rhythms and the polyrhythms so essential to the band's sound being one of the key links between Codes' fusion of stadium rock and electronica.
It remains to be seen whether second album AALTARS will overshadow the success of their EMI- supported, Choice nominated debut, but tonight sees a band very comfortable in the direction that they're taking and who have a defined sense of what it is they're about.
Words: Philip Cummins