Review Summary: If you thought that the one thing post-rock needed was another band that sounds like ‘Explosions in the Sky,’ then do I have an album for you!
When approaching a band like Codes in the Clouds, it’s easy to instantly crumple up all reservations and throw them away, becoming completely enamored with what‘s at hand. After all, they’re actually quite pretty
in their execution, and the way they carry themselves is somewhat assuring, like seeing an old friend after years of separation. Yet this is where the disconnect must be made; Codes in the Clouds, and namely their album As The Spirit Wanes
, is something you’ve heard a dozen times, by a dozen different bands. Regardless of how “sweepingly emotional and painstakingly beautiful” the whole thing may seem, the album is just a traced drawing of masterpieces.
Like a traced drawing, you really only get the outline, not the full effect. The subtle nuances and intricacies are sort of lost. Instead, what you are left with is an outline, and one which captures only a form rather than the entire thing. And honestly, it’s easy to get caught up in the instant gratification of the album, it really is, but too often does the entire product rely on the “default” aspects of post-rock, or rather, things that were beginning to be tiresome a decade ago. Cascading guitar passages and booming climaxes are commonplace on the album. Hell, there’s even a song consisting of some very Mono-like tremolo picking. You see, As The Spirit Wanes
shamelessly rips off Explosions in the Sky, early 65daysofstatic, and about a few handfuls of other acts that have broke ground and since moved on. Moved on being the key words here, as the aforementioned acts have made their marks, and since began to pave new grounds, and make new niches. Instead, Codes in the Clouds have decided to play catch up, imitating the accomplishments that those bands made years ago.
Therein lies the issue with the album; it’s a shallow and tepid experience. Since the emotional aspects have seemingly been fabricated, the work is incredibly difficult to become invested in, as everything must be taken at face value. That isn’t to say that much of As The Spirit Wanes
isn’t endearing in its own right. Every song is fairly harmless, but essentially very pretty
. It has a very warm production, and each guitar tone seems to reverberate off of its surroundings, making for a nicely enveloping sound; dense, welcoming, and comforting. This really helps the album, as it’s really the only thing that is done exceptionally well. I mean, it’s well written and all, but honestly that’s only because it’s been hoisted from other things.
As The Spirit Wane
is the definition of a likable
album. Likable, but not lovable or memorable. It’s good post-rock that will be hard pressed to leave any impression at all, which is honestly its biggest failing. Sure, a lack of originality is undesirable, but the fact that there is absolutely nothing to take away from this is really what kills it.