Codes at Whelan’s, Dublin on September 19th 2015

The ever elusive Codes returned from London to launch their sophomore album, ‘Aaltars’, within the confines of Whelan’s on Saturday night. With a new album to add to their arsenal and year since their last show in Dublin, revellers were heard discussing new songs, what the set would consist of and if ‘Aaltars’ would deliver the goods in a live setting.

Opening up affairs were Limerick post-punk rockers, Slow Riot. From the beginning drones of the bass guitar, similarities to Interpol are leaping out at listeners. When Niall Clancy opens his mouth, the comparisons to Interpol continue. For a three-piece, they create a big sound but it definitely feels like a second guitarist would enhance things greatly. While the bass and drums anchor the songs down, the guitar screeches and wails through various impressive solos and licks, combining post punk and shoegaze in a very interesting manner. Their debut EP, ‘Demons’ is released on the 22nd of October and it very well may be one to listen out for.

When Codes stepped onto the stage shortly after 9pm, they were met with cheers from the excited crowd. Unfortunately there is still plenty of space left in Whelans, but it doesn’t seem to faze the band in the slightest. “Come on, don’t be afraid to push up…” is shouted by front man Daragh Anderson within the opening minutes and as the space in front of the stage closes, the show really kicks off.

Shapeshifter kicks off affairs as math rocky guitars blend with soaring synths and some seriously impressive drumming to let everybody know that Codes are home, and they aren’t going to be quiet about it. This is a band who have grown into the new sound that ‘Aaltars’ has crafted, but old favourites like You Are Here and Starry Eyed become mass singalongs. This sometimes even caused Anderson to step away from the mic to admire the choir screaming the words back at him harmoniously. As a band, Codes are always energetic and engaging live, and coupled with an impressively cued live show they are a pleasure to watch.

Triangulum and Bleed Blue I & II are particular stand outs of the main set. The latter is particularly impressive in a live setting as the two parts meld into each other; the first is an atmospheric track that builds in intensity around Anderson’s vocals while part two consists of a cacophony of sound lead by a thunderous guitar riff. The main set is closed off with Meridian Square, and, judging by the crowd reaction, it’s already become a firm favourite. However, the main set is quite short and it feels like it’s just lacking something to make it as special as a long awaited album release should be.

The encore consists of a power trio from Codes’ debut release, ‘Trees Dream in Algebra’ – Malfunctions, This is Goodbye and 4 Winters. The first two meld incredibly well together and have a bit of a nostalgia factor about them while the closer is a slow burning song that grows in intensity as the six minutes roll by. This is concluded by Anderson throwing himself into the audience and ending the night on a rather confusing high.

Despite the small crowd that gathered, it’s evident that their loyalty to the band is there. Many in attendance are the people who helped to fund ‘Aaltars’ – something that Anderson addresses throughout the night. Hopefully Codes will be seen a little more than annually on our shores from here on out, because their fans will be there to support them through thick and thin.