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ATP! Album Review: Code Orange Kids - Love is Love // Return to Dust

Based on previous EP's, speculations over whether Code Orange Kids could stylistically sustain the same amount of energy and interest for an entire full-length could have been justifiable, but their debut LP reaches defiantly beyond any level of expectation. "Love is Love // Return to Dust" impressively moulds Code Orange Kids' intense dirge and malefic beats into a musical tempest that constantly re-invents itself without losing coherence.

To those who have already streamed the album for free - before you pressed play, were you prepared for the hell that Code Orange Kids were about to unleash? Probably not. Four stick clicks introduce 'Flowermouth (The Leech)', and from there on, chaos takes the reigns of a record that would be an appropriate soundtrack to both the birth and death of the world.

Recorded with Kurt Ballou (Converge) at God City Studios, "Love is Love // Return to Dust" is a veritable cloudburst of sinister melody, crushing landscapes - both heavy and emotional - and the world's dirtiest bass tones. Code Orange Kids plunge their hands into different pools of aggressive punk, dirty art-rock and doom and then rub them together, unfurling their fingers to reveal a boundary-blurred blend of hardcore that is completely uncompromising and entirely their own. The contrast between female/male vocals from Reba, Jami and Eric alone is a breath of fresh air among a mass of vocalists who can easily be indistinguishable or interchangeable.

From the unhinged fury of tracks like 'Around My Neck // On My Head' marked by schizophrenic percussion and unexpected corner-turns in time signature to the more ambient expanses of 'Calm // Breathe' and 'Colors (Into Nothing)' - the latter featuring vocals from Adam McIlwee of Tigers Jaw - everything Code Orange Kids aim for on this record is executed with savage conviction and energy, and it pays off.

Sometimes, hardcore bands toe a fine line between aggression and obnoxiousness, particularly if they are younger, but Code Orange Kids have harnessed the impatience and frustration of youth and dragged it down a sincere and artistic pathway they have carved for themselves. As if they ever needed to justify what they do (the very basis of their appeal is that clearly they couldn't and, more importantly, shouldn't care less), closing epic 'Bloom (Return to Dust)' is the final punch to the colourless face of pretentiousness, stalking its way through a grim and contemptuous atmosphere before cutting out mid-vocal, lurching you back into an acute state of consciousness the same way you wake from a nightmare - jolted, disoriented and reeling in a mental space that swings like a pendulum between horror and awe.


Emma Garland

"Love is Love // Return to Dust" is out on November 20th through Deathwish Inc.

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