With his third album in as many years, Paul Archer has shown with his Burning Codes project, how quickly confidence can grow. Being the brother of Snow Patrol’s Iain Archer probably helps but there’s always been a sense that the siblings sing off a different hymnsheet. In fact, hymnal has been a good way of describing Burning Codes in the past; given the allegiance to gospel music.
On ‘Rivers Of Hope’, brother Iain and other members of Snow Patrol and Athlete join in to lend a hand and – based on first song ‘We Are Like Gold’ – there’s a sense of a growing ambition to play stadiums too. As the title promises, the mood is confident and celebratory. ‘Last Time’ is edgier and builds from tense verses in to a driving chorus; also serving as a great showcase for Archer’s powerful yet soothing vocals.
‘Switch’ features satisfyingly crunchy guitars whilst the yearning qualities of ‘A Lifetime’ is the highlight of the second half of the record. Strangely, Archer’s trademark gospel sounds a little tired for the title track but the lilting, insistent strains of ‘The Ladder’ and ‘New Ground’ recover the form convincingly.
Even though Archer is always aiming higher, he is still able to maintain his own identity and ‘Rivers Of Hope’ signals another step forward for him. Meanwhile, the heady mix of heavenly harmonies and low-slung guitars proves to be an unusual yet involving combination.
Snow Patrol, Spiritualized