If your taste in music aligns with what could be described as cliche, Code Orange Kids might not exactly be the band for you – especially when you consider their hardcore weaving and experimental dirges. From the opening stick clicks of “Flowermouth,” there’s a sense that this will not be another by-the-numbers hardcore record, another slathering of breakdowns and double-time crunching. Sure, those ideas come to fruition at times on Love is Love // Return to Dust, but Code Orange Kids is anything but your run-of-the-mill hardcore band. They draw from tempos and timbres aplenty on their debut LP, and for what it is worth, it’s sure to say that their future is only brightened by what is among the strongest debuts for any band in 2012.
Whether it be manic riffing or thunderous marching (“Liars // Trudge”), this is an LP that feels much more like a cohesive creation rather than a collection of songs. The weave created from track to track is quite a strong one, bridging from abrasion to cathartic release and maybe an unexpected turn in between. What is impressive here is that the sonic span of this record doesn’t restrict to even just hardcore, but sludge, indie and post-rock, even if only for a moment. At times you’ll hear the impressions made on this band from records like Jane Doe and As The Roots Undo – though neither is really an all-encompassing description of the sound heard here, as it is tough to truly pin down. Perhaps one of the more prime examples of such wavering is the weary closer “Bloom (Return to Dust),” where the band slimes us with dark chords and trudging tempos before stripping down to an anti-climax of nearly derailing proportions. But in all of its weirdness, the track does something jarring to the mind in its finishing blow – it encompasses a mindset of simply not just trying to create music, but a piece of art in a genre that often gets passed over for such considerations.
That isn’t to say they have abandoned their previous notions in the process. “Roots are Certain // Sky Is Empty” grinds out at train wreck speeds, while “Nothing (The Rat)” is grim and catchy in the methodical punching of its looming riffs that harken perhaps the most obvious Converge comparisons this record is getting. They slip into ridiculous tempos at other times as well, but the swerve from fast to slow, back and forth, makes for quite the journey they can be challenging at times. You’ll be pushing in the pit for “Liars // Trudge” at one point, but then swirling in fog during “Colors (Into Nothing)”. But then again, when we are comparing to bands like Converge, how could it not be anything but a straight shot?
In all honesty though, the thing that brought me to this band and will keep me listening to them is the lack of reliance on any sort of repetitive characteristic to embody their music – perhaps other than the fact that in its shifting glory it can be a bit of a task at first listen. Code Orange Kids might not be the next band to crack the proverbial hardcore ceiling in terms of popularity, but I’d be willing to wager their trek into substance over style has and will garner them much more respect than anything else. It is that confidence and brash sense of creation that makes Love is Love // Return to Dust a monster of a record in its collection of tempos and timbres – an angered stomp into a scene that could use something a little off the beaten path to consider every now and then.