Top 20 Releases of 2016: No.18 – Code – Code

code - code

CD, Mangrove, 2016

The birth of Japanese punk was officially announced by a compilation album called Tokyo Rockers in 1979, and it’s the sound of “Rockers” bands like Friction and Lizard that Code are channeling with this album. To seal the link to that first generation of Japanese punk, the photograph adorning the cover was taken by Reck from Friction, while the album’s release through the Mangrove label (run out of punk record store Base in Tokyo’s former weird punk heartland of Koenji) anchors it in what counts as the genre’s present.

This site doesn’t really cover much in the way of straight-up punk, and there’s always going to be an element of “people-who-like-this-kind-of-thing-will-like-this-while-people-who-don’t-like-this-kind-of-thing-won’t” about music from a scene that has such little interest in the outside world. Nevertheless, Code get a mention here because, while this self-titled album doesn’t break any new ground, it inhabits old ground in such a comprehensive way. It’s also important that Code do this not as revivalism so much as as a continuation of a way of doing things that has carried on in its own hermetic way for nearly 40 unbroken years. The guitars buzz away in the background or solo away shrilly, the drums clatter, the vocals harangue, and the chords go through their motions in just the way you were expecting them to. This is Japanese punk wearing a leather jacket or tatty t-shirt (or some combination thereof) that rocks on and throws its shapes in earnest defiance of the speed and violence of hardcore, the pop-punk confections of the post-Blue Hearts era, the anarchic everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach of junk — it is, simply, just what an old-school Japanese punk rock record should sound like and would be betraying itself if it ever tried to be more.

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One response to “Top 20 Releases of 2016: No.18 – Code – Code

  1. Pingback: Top 20 Releases of 2016: Afterword | Clear And Refreshing

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