Codeine – When I See the Sun

January 01, 1970

(Numero Group)


Since forming in 1989, New York’s Codeine have been barnacled as
one of the founders of the head-scratching subgenre known as “slowcore.”
But the impact frontman/bassist Stephen Immerwahr, guitarist John Engle and
drummer Chris Brokaw (later of Come; replaced by Doug Scharin in 1993) levied
on the world of underground rock during their four short years together transcends
any snarky music crit slugline. The trio was armed with a sound that melded the
abrasiveness of such post-hardcore icons of the ‘80s as Squirrel Bait (whose
guitarist David Grubbs was a contributing member of Codeine), Moss Icon and
Bastro with the reverberating melodies of early Creation Records into a
hypnotic glide that moved like a deadly cottonmouth against the current of a
lazy river. Such seminal acts of the modern age as Mogwai, Pelican, Explosions
in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Rós all harbor a healthy dose
of Codeine in their bloodstreams


This is indelibly evidenced in the construct of Numero
Group’s masterfully crafted box set chronicling the group’s complete recorded
output. Designed by Chunklet publisher
Henry Owings and supplemented with extensive liner notes that include
testimonials from such pals as Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming
Lips, Dean Wareham, Matador Records chief Gerard Cosloy, Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan
and Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman, When I
See The Sun
is the definitive word on Codeine. This 6LP/3CD monolith
gathers together the group’s Sub Pop output: 1991’s Frigid Stars, 1992’s Barely
Real EP
and their 1994 swan song The
White Birch
, all gorgeously remastered from the original tapes and teeming
with a treasure trove of B-sides, alternate takes, covers, demos, Peel Sessions
tracks, compilation obscurities and live cuts that expands each title by at least
double its initial length.


Only a thousand copies of this limited edition set were
pressed, but When I See The Sun is
well worth the hunt and the small fortune for the trio’s most ardent fanbase.


“Pickup Song” (Demo) RON HART


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