Criminal Code from Tacoma, Washington, play an anthemic, sneakingly melodic mixture of post-punk and post-hardcore. Formed in 2011, they’ve just released their debut LP No Device on Deranged Records, a welcome shot in the vein (or kick in the teeth) to an increasingly ethereal genre.
No Device harkens back to the raw, stripped down and primal intensity that characterised the early days of post punk, back when it was still considered just punk, only punk that was a little off and slightly more unsettling than usual. Criminal Code straight rip and rock with an urgency and rabid junkie unpredictability that was traded in long ago when post punk started investing wholeheartedly in synthesisers and chorus pedal collections and diverting down broodier pathways to goth and whatever-wave.
That isn’t to say that Criminal Code have forsaken all of post-punk’s preoccupation with subtlety and atmosphere, it’s just, for lack of a better word, more subtle than the usual midnight fog of chorus and bed of synthesiser shimmer. Throughout No Device chorus is used only as the slightest colouring on the already unsettlingly atmospheric guitar work, which switches on a dime between serpentine melodies, angular, trebly chord-work, and bouts of harsh dissonance, and unless I’m mistaken, there isn’t a synthesiser in sight.
Criminal Code’s drummer crashes with a force more befitting a hardcore band; there’s no mistaking these beats for a drum machine. Likewise, Criminal Code’s vocalist eschews the standard pallid moaning and mono-baritone for a full throated roar with a faint but pervasive melodic undercurrent, more indebted to 90s post-hardcore than any Ian Curtis or Peter Murphy.
Criminal Code are a perfect mess of contradictions, simultaneously full-bodied and forceful, and cold, distant and washed-out, like a hardcore heart in pale post punk skin, or vice versa.
WED. MARCH 26TH SEATTLE, WA @ Black Lodge w/Dreamdecay. Vexx
THURS. MARCH 27TH PORTLAND, OR @ Blackwater Records w/Vexx. Neighborhood Brats.
FRI. MARCH 28TH SANTA ROSA, CA @ Hendley Hotel w/Vexx. Culture Abuse
SAT. MARCH 29TH SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ The Fortress w/Vexx. Wild Moth. Fossor House
SUN. MARCH 30TH OAKLAND, CA @ 1234 Go! Records w/Vexx. Crimson Scarlett.
MON. MARCH 31ST BAKERSFIELD, CA @ Munoz Gym
TUES. APRIL 1ST LOS ANGELES, CA @ East 7th w/Gun Outfit. Stoic Violence.
WED. APRIL 2ND SANTA ANNA, CA
THURS. APRIL 3RD SAN DIEGO, CA
FRI. APRIL 4TH PHOENIX, AZ @ Wall Street
SAT. APRIL 5TH FLAGSTAFF/TUCSON, AZ
SUN. APRIL 6TH LAS CRUCES, NM @ Trainyard
MON. APRIL 7TH DENTON, TX
TUES. APRIL 8TH AUSTIN, TX @ Hotel Vegas w/Dead Space. Kurraka. Institute. Detestados.
WED. APRIL 9TH HOUSTON, TX @ Mango’s
THURS. APRIL 10TH NEW ORLEANS, LA
FRI. APRIL 11TH BIRMINGHAM, AL
*SAT. APRIL 12TH ATLANTA, GA
SUN. APRIL 13TH KNOXVILLE, TN @ Poison Lawn
MON. APRIL 14TH ASHVILLE, NC @ Static Age Records
TUES. APRIL 15TH CHARLOTTE, NC
WED. APRIL 16TH GREENSBORO, NC
THURS. APRIL 17TH RICHMOND, VA
*FRI. APRIL 18TH BALTIMORE, MD
*SAT. APRIL 19TH PHILADELPHIA, PA
*SUN. APRIL 20TH NEW YORK CITY, NY
MON. APRIL 21ST PROVIDENCE, RI
TUES. APRIL 22ND BOSTON, MA @ O’briens w/Casanovas In Heat
*WED. APRIL 23RD BOSTON, MA
THURS. APRIL 24TH MONTREAL
FRI. APRIL 25TH OTTAWA @ Luneta’s Cafe
SAT. APRIL 26TH TORONOTO
SUN. APRIL 27TH BUFFALO, NY @ Spiral Scratch Records
MON. APRIL 28TH PITTSBURGH, PA
TUES. APRIL 29TH CLEVELAND, OH @ Happy Dog w/Pleasure Leftists
WED. APRIL 30TH COLUMBUS, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Pleasure Leftists. Nervosas
THURS. MAY 1ST INDIANNAPOLIS, IN
FRI. MAY 2ND CHICAGO, IL
SAT. MAY 3RD MILWAUKEE, WI @ Quarters
SUN. MAY 4TH MINNEAPOLIS, MI @ House of the Lard w/Temple. Brain Tumors. Surrogates.
MON. MAY 5TH WINNIPEG
TUES. MAY 6TH REGINA
WED. MAY 7TH EDMONTON @ Wunderbar w/Rhythm of Cruelty. Daydreaming.
THURS. MAY 8TH CALGARY
FRI. MAY 9TH KAMLOOPS @ FFA w/Tremor. Pink Eraser
SAT. MAY 10TH VANCOUVER, BC @ ALF House w/Systematik
SAT. MAY 31ST TACOMA, WA @ Bob’s Java Jive w/Survival Knife. The Family Curse.