Woven – Designer Codes

Designer Codes

On Designer Codes, Woven assembled a fancy scrapbook galvanized by mid/late-1990’s alternative rock. The album’s processed, fragmented sounds recall bands like Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, and Linkin Park. Altogether, it makes for a highly polished product that eclipses most of these influences. Most, not all.

The promotion material lists Liars as the band’s RIYL, but Woven never approaches that kind of experimental depth and variety. Liars court the unknown, whereas Woven stay faithful to the alt rock sound.

Woven are prone to a some pretentious, black painted fingernail moments. And it looks like this LA band is being positioned for commercial radio success. Designer Codes bears the mark of industry professionals and money. To the band’s credit, their sound is more intriguing than most commercial radio. These tracks constrict anxious atmospheres that rarely relax. Amid this cooked ambiance, distorted guitars, bass, percussion, and vocals forge strong dynamics.

Opening instrumental track “Trumpeting Strength” sounds like an alt rock version of an Ennio Morricone piece. Then the band’s influences take over. The following track, “Perception Whore”, isn’t far removed from Deftones.

This track reveals one of the album’s recurring problems: the gritty, glitched out electronic beat. This sound is so entrenched in the 90’s Nine Inch Nails mythos that it backdates the sound instead of placing it at the helm of progressive music.

The rest of the album balances high and low points. On “Cosmonaut”, Woven find an effective Aphex Twin groove followed by a powerful alt rock climax. But on the aggressive track “One”, they sound like a worn Linkin Park song.

“Sadness’ Last Stand” may be the album’s best track. Its paced and sinister beat is punched with an acoustic bass, stalking under a dry whisper vocal. The corrupt tension breaks briefly on a melodic interlude before refocusing in the dark.

As an alternative noise rock album, Designer Codes fares well, although it arguably benefits as much as it suffers from too many industry hands in the cookie jar. Listen is you like the RIYLs.