Sunday, April 29, 2018

The twilight sad

When Maximo Park's Paul Smith mentioned on Twitter on Friday night that he was indulging in some late-night Codeine, I had to reach for The White Birch myself.

Released on Sub Pop in 1994, it's an underrated - or, rather, largely unknown - work of genius, an album of subtle yet devastating power. 'Washing Up' is beyond bleak, and the opening track 'Sea' is incredible - especially, I guarantee, through headphones when alone in the small hours.

The White Birch and its almost equally brilliant predecessor Frigid Stars made Codeine a cornerstone of the so-called slowcore genre (together with the likes of Low and Galaxie 500) and an influence on a whole host of post-rock bands (Mogwai, perhaps most prominently). I still feel so, so lucky to have caught one of their reunion shows, at Primavera in Porto in 2012.

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