New Years Resolution for this site: stop starting every article about new bands by creating context about how music in Scotland is thriving. We all know that by now and while it may have become a cliché, it’s not become any less true: King Tuts have a whole month just dedicated to up and coming bands so they can showcase their love of what they do (but more about that in my Echo Valley gig review later).
What may also come across as cliché at this stage is how much I enjoy Glasgow band Codist’s work. Whilst I may have stumbled across them in atypical fashion (my bus was late and I arrived just in time to see them support), their non apologetic approach to mixing their influences with their own zesty, catchy sound had me hooked from the get go.
And while I may find it difficult to go the rest of this review without making some science related joke, Nuclear Family provides a breath of fresh air into Scottish rock music while also paying ode to the very bands who made the genre what it is: like a musical Star Wars if you will.
Being hailed as a “Scottish Nirvana” by online publications doesn’t help when it comes to the pressure you’ll face when making an album but it’s clear that the band haven’t been titled this just for those moody expressions in the photo above. Take for instance Sudden Valley, the fourth track on this LP that packs all the gritty rifts and distortion you’d expect from the pioneers of Grunge.
This same dreary, almost angst ridden sound pops up before on Puddle, my own personal favourite off this release which manages to bring back memories of Blackened Sky era Biffy with some equally beautiful lyrics about “why you can feel your insides glow”. Whilst we’re talking about lyrics, it should be said that the vocal performances on Nuclear Family are particularly enjoyable with Tom Fraser and Phillip Ivers both lending their voices for the tracks on show.
It’s not all doom and gloom on this record however. Things get off to a particularly smooth start with Zamboni which, while also containing deformed sounding vocals like Sudden Valley, manages to use it in a more appealing manner. This rings especially true in the chorus that’s so impossible not to have stuck inside your head for the rest of the day, just like the band managed with tracks on their Loverscruff EP last year with some even making reappearances on this record. A track which just screams blue album era Weezer.
One of the most important moments in the world of new music is the much talked about debut album which brings with it a whole array of questions: Will it be as good as their EPs? Will they change their sound at all? Will they all get haircuts and start wearing leather jackets? Whilst the last questions remains to be seen, Codist have most definitely delivered a debut album that delivers on the promise of previous releases whilst also showing glimmers of further potential in bucket-loads. The quintessential debut album.