It’s highly embarrassing to admit one’s ignorance about a band as brilliantly good as Montreal’s Code Pie a decade or so into their existence. More so when one has spent the better part of the past ten years doing nothing but discovering and documenting brilliantly good Canadian musicians. Blame the delayed introduction on the fact there’s been five years between Pop Cycle, the quintet’s latest, and their last long player, 2011’s Love Meets Rage. Still, there’s no excuse for completely missing the strings of singles released in the interim (all of which appear on Pop Cycle). It’s a sin, I tell you. The road to redemption starts now; my penance is full-bodied immersion into Pop Cycle and Code Pie’s complete back catalogue.
Moments into Pop Cycle, a keen awareness sets in. I instinctively know I’m going to be listening to this record for years to come. I can already imagine the occasions and situations it will soundtrack: the dizzyingly effervescent “Let Me” playing away as I gaze longingly out a rain dappled window; dancing the secret dance I only do when no one is home to the perfectly punchy pop of “Something Something”; drifting at the edge of sleep and awake as “Rockets” blasts me into a blissful dreamlike state.
While still a robust album full of intricate and finely crafted musical details, Pop Cycle is a more muted and restrained record in comparison to Love Meets Rage, and earlier releases The Most Trusted Name In Yous (2007) and The Habit (2005). Love Meets Rage in particular is brimming with Code Pie’s shambolic chamber pop charms. Channeling the fury hinted at in the record’s title, “Morning After” and “Low Devotion” bristle with polite reckless abandon (they are Canadian, after all) that’s perhaps been tempered by time on Pop Cycle. That’s the one benefit to discovering Code Pie as late into the game as I am; each version of their aesthetic offers insight into the band’s talent as songwriters and performers, and endears them to me further.
As embarrassed as I may be at my late arrival on the Code Pie train, the spoils are still mine (and yours, too, if you’re new to the band). Spending the last weekend of Summer ‘16 basking in the embarrassment of riches on Pop Cycle and their previous output is a penance I wouldn’t mind performing in perpetuity.