Review: Code Orange Kids – Love is Love // Return to Dust [2012]

Artist: Code Orange Kids
Album: Love is Love // Return to Dust
Rating: 9.5/10

1. Flowermouth (The Leech)
2. Around My Neck // On My Head
3. Sleep (I’ve Been Slipping)
4. Liars // Trudge
5. Colors (Into Nothing)
6. Nothing (The Rat)
7. Roots Are Certain // Sky Is Empty
8. Choices (Love is Love)
9. Calm // Breathe
10. Bloom (Return to Dust)

Love is Love // Return to Dust is the highly anticipated LP debut by Code Orange Kids. These Pittsburgh natives have been able to blend chaos into every track, much like their label mates (see for fans of). Seeing this album released on Deathwish Inc. not only adds yet another impressive album into their discography but it also promotes a sound that the label has been able to perfect. The fact that Kurt Ballou helped record this album is a perfect example. The artwork even brings out an anticipating flavor to the record. It is like you can already hear the bass rattling lows, the frantic drum beats, and the screams that sound similar to that of a nervous breakdown. Simply put, not only is the music beautiful, but the way it is presented also comes off as perfect. But let me stop boasting about the amazing production and promotion of the album and get to the actual music on the album. A handful of reviews have already came out for this record and all of them have been glowing with praise. So to continue the ongoing praise, without further ado, here is the review.

The first track on Love is Love // Return to Dust is called “Flowermouth (The Leech)”, this song starts out with a ground shaking bass riff and some very distinct vocal delivery. The best part about this song is how it kicks off the album. It kind of has a Stray From The Path kind of style to it and at the end of the song it kind of goes into a jazzy distorted ambiance. The first track on any album is going to be crucial and this song does not disappoint. The next song on the album is a lot more fast paced and more true to form of the Code Orange Kids noted style. It is basically just a minute of pure violence. But the track on the album that really made me fall in love with this album is “Liars // Trudge”.  Maybe it is because it is the first song that clocks in at over 3 minutes or perhaps it is the way they build the song up. Right from the get go the drums start pounding and getting louder and the guitars churn over and over, then it all stops and the vocals come in with “as the rat creeps”. The song just lets go after that and goes for the fences with a breakdown that rivals Xibalba. But wait, there is more, after the breakdown it goes into this beautiful ambiance of a female vocals singing the lines “you. just. know.” over and over. It is like she is just singing to you re-insuring you that this album is going to be great. “Liars // Trudge” easily takes the cake as one of my favorites on the album. The ending of “Liars // Trudge” breaks Code Orange Kids out of their shell revealing their ambient side, “Colors (Into Nothing)” is a track that is just that. But have no fear, they go back to the chaotic unease in the next two songs; “Nothing (The Rat)” being one of the most murderous songs I’ve heard and “Roots Are Certain // Sky Is Empty” leaves me with my heart racing. “Choices (Love is Love)” revisits what I loved so much in “Liars // Trudge”. It is basically a sludge song with the passion and emotional depth of  911 dispatch call in which someone confesses a murder. It literally makes you uneasy and feel like you’re encroaching on someone’s personal matters. “Calm // Breathe” is a song that can be taken quite literal, it is the album’s way of giving you a chance to recollect yourself . You have about 3 minutes to regain yourself before they throw you right back into the entropy. The closing song on the album is the perfect send off to the 27 minute venture that leaves you on the verge of tearing down your house or crying in the corner.

One thing I really enjoyed about the album is the lyrics. A lot of records don’t give us a full lyric sheet to read through while we listen to the songs, but thankfully I’ve had the pleasure of reading every song while listening to them. Which makes an album all the more personal. The lyrics are dark and  intimate and they fit with the vibe of the entire album. A lot of bands don’t get the lyrical depth that Code Orange Kids reach, which is a shame to see. But the lyrics on this album get to the bone. What I mean by that, is just by reading the lyrics you get a chill. Musically I also give them all the recognition in the world for being able to combine doom, sludge, hardcore, noise, punk and almost any other genre they can find into an album without it sounding completely random. I kind of feel sorry for their press relations person whenever someone dares to ask, “What genre do they play?”

Hands down Code Orange Kids have done something I never thought was possible, they managed to enthrall and impress me as much as Converge did with “All We Love We Leave Behind”. Comparing them to Converge might be a little nearsighted, as they do display a lot of different influences. But as far as creativity and passion goes, I cannot think of a better band to correlate them to. The album gives me chills from start to finish, whether they be enticing me into a nervous breakdown on “Roots Are Certain // Sky Is Empy” or making me feel secure and safe in “Calm // Breathe”, the album has a flavor all in its own and fits on any record shelf as a proud piece to own. I often boast that it is hard to find a bad release on Deathwish Inc., and this is one of the many reasons why. They just have a knack for signing bands that they can bring the best out in. While I don’t give Deathwish all the credit, I do think they’ve given Code Orange Kids the ball and they’ve run away with it. They wrote an album that rips into the deepest part of your mind and stays there. This album is definitely worth the purchase and will be an album the redefines the scene. No matter what genre you stick them in, these guys are going places.

For fans of: Loma Prieta, Xerxes, Converge

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