Without doubt my album of the summer. Burning Codes’ writer, vocalist and imaginer is Paul Archer, brother to Iain, and friend and contributor to Snow Patrol. Indeed, Patrol main man Gary Lightbody confesses, in his Up To Now liner notes, to stealing Paul’s drummer Jonny Quinn after supporting Archer’s band Disraeli Gears in Belfast in the mid-nineties. In the end from the fringes of the industry, living with his family transported to the Cambridgeshire’s Fenlands from Bangor, County Down, Paul Archer might just be the most original of all his good buddies.
I basked in the intoxicating mix of experimentation and immediacy as I walked across a Spanish beach, under perfect blue skies and the heat on my back with Rivers Of Hope in my ear phones. I kind of thought it was as if Velvet Underground had merged with Explosions in The Sky and got Bono to write them some lyrics after he had spent a month on retreat on Taize. Burning Codes create magical soundscapes of joyous energy. Even after all that you cannot review Paul Archer’s voice. It is so pure and soulful. It is like nothing out there. Sometimes layering his own vocal and occasionally with his brother Iain’s (Fleet Foxes dream of such harmonies!) Archer conjures little mystical Irish choirs that perfectly capture the fragility and resilience of our souls.
The soul is high on Burning Codes’ agenda. Those buddies previously name dropped have dropped by the studio. Brother Iain brings that accessibility to everything he touches to We Are All Gold and Snow Patrol guitarist Nathan Connolly helps strip it all back in Rivers of Hope and then give a rugged guitar sturdiness to Only Gone that has echoes of Archer’s previous work in The Ghears. Athlete pair Carey Willetts and Steve Roberts bring a solid radio friendly groove to Switch. The overall impression is a celebration of the preciousness of our humanity. In songs that tend to be economical with words, the depth of feeling is tangible in Sigor Ros type ways. Be ready to be moved in the most positive of ways.