By: Thomas Laycock
Codas | facebook |
Released on June 2, 2015 via Crowquill Records
Codas is the brainchild of one Mario Quintero whose previous work in the bands Sleep Lady and Spotlights amounts to a proven track record of generating expansive and emotive soundscapes blasted through with beefy guitars and constellated with shimmering delicacies. With the Codas project we are promised an altogether different set of aural delights, so what does it sound like?
Opening track ‘The Sun Martyr’ rouses with a deranged drone shot through with an electro-industrial pulse, the tone intending towards darkness. Enter a choppy, palm-muted post-metal riff and the driving force of the track starts to ramp up. It layers and ascends relentlessly on top of the same rhythmic phrasing, gathering mass and intensity in a way that does great justice to its name. There is an hypnotic, beautiful and almost malevolent pulse running through the piece like something breathing through a strange dream; some song for a bio-mechanoid, both sensual and mechanical.
The opening drum salvoes of ‘Follow the Blind’ announce a more frenetic track that ploughs forth with a jangly guitar barely holding onto the thread until a weightier guitar riff hammers the rhythm down into place and a throbbing synth like the workings of a deranged mind swells to envelope the whole piece. The math rock riffs that break into this mix are always kept on a taut leash, never tinkle-off into self-indulgence and are chopped down to size again and again by beefier chops of riffing and energetically thrashed-out octaves. The phrasing and melodic interplay stack up towards something that avoids being overtly ‘epic’ by virtue of being so tightly controlled. This is a masterful track that definitely stands out from the EP as a whole.
Third track ‘White Black’ turns up the notch still further bursting intensely right out of the gate, locking the listener into a groove and never letting go until the end. In a way the whole album feels black and white, angular and controlled. A tonality underlined by the minimalist cover art and the stark yet leading narrative cues given by the song titles.
So we are led into the title track ‘Currents’, a glorious agglomeration of desert-like synth sounds, keening lead lines and brooding yet contained stabs of menace. The brittle and ominous guitar chord that casts a pall of threat over the diffused soundscape rumbles away until a sonorous, delay-washed lead line attempts to transcend its ground. The track proceeds languidly, bathing in its own atmosphere and there is a sense of having carved out this space of peace after all the battles that came before it. In the final third the heavier guitar returns, knocking repeatedly at the walls as though to break though, as though the beast were not quite dead yet, but to the writer’s credit the heaviness is not permitted to fully kick-off again and the piece tails off with lovely restraint.
Currents by Codas can be situated at the heavier end of the post-rock spectrum or the more restrained end of the post-metal one, sutured together by some chunky math-rock playing it’s all very intelligently and seamlessly integrated. Mr Quintero is on record that this work is an experiment; I think he can consider it a success. It sounds as though he has taken the emotive, expansive and beefy elements of his other projects and compressed them down into something altogether tighter and more crystalline that glints at the dark edges of its angular construction. It’s a diamond of an EP; ambitious and accomplished in a way that belies the humility with which it has been presented to the public.
Quintero adds that initially this project was a depository for creations that didn’t quite fit the mould of his other endeavours, but gradually took on a life of their own, and that could be the larger story here; the importance for an artist of thinking laterally and never throwing anything away, unless what you cast to one side turns out to be a handful of magic beans that sprout mightily and bring giants down on your head.
The EP is released on June 2nd on Crowquill Records.
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