Code of Ethics was one of the premiere names in electronic pop in Christian music throughout the 90's. Formerly on Forefront Records, Code of Ethics took a break from the industry after their 1999 Word Records release, Blaze, so vocalist Barry Blaze could lead worship at a church in Florida. But after a severe motorcycle accident, Blaze suffered serious hearing and vision loss that looked to impair his ability to make music ever again. God had other plans for the singer, and after a number of surgeries to restore some of his hearing and sight, and with a renewed passion for music, Barry Blaze has revived Code of Ethics from its slumber.
Code's return to music comes in the form of Lost In Egypt, an independently released album produced entirely by Blaze himself, something that Blaze hasn't done since the band's self-titled album in 1993. For Lost In Egypt, Code of Ethics takes a more classic approach to electronic music, capturing more of the feel of that 1993 release than any of the band's later projects. However, in some respects, it's the production values created by the pairing of Blaze with Tedd T. that made an album like the 1995 release, Arms Around The World, so memorable. That record was distinctly more symphonic, polished (but not overly), and diverse, despite being more accessible. But Lost In Egypt still captures much of the things that Code of Ethics fans knew and loved about them. And the way it begins is no exception.
Lost In Egypt opens with "Smile," a deliciously catchy pop anthem that merely tries to spread a little joy to the listener as the chorus states, "Don't let the voices pull you down / Joy like the morning comes around / Reach for the hope that shines above / Under the stars you'll find you're loved / So smile." If anything, "Smile" offers the most of what made Arms Around The World as strong as it was. With strings, a pulsing beat, and harmonies, it's Code of Ethics at its best. From here, Lost In Egypt explores 80s and early 90s influences, even going as far as to cover Depeche Mode's "People Are People," a band who greatly impacted Blaze's stylings. The title track is the edgiest song on the album, an industrial rock song about feeling like a slave to sin and the struggles in trying to be like Christ. "Beautiful Lamb" is the first of a few straight forward worship anthems. The song first appeared on Blaze's solo album released last year but is given the electronic treatment here. Not exactly your typical Code song or worship song, it's a nice, simple song of praise. "Were You There" channels some of the retro stylings of the self-titled album, utilizing a fast beat and electronic samples layered behind Blaze's deeper vocal delivery. "Somebody's Waiting" lyrically focuses on missions while the fast-paced techno of "Perfect" is another praise anthem. "Goodbye" picks up where "Were You There" left off musically and in mood, but Blaze sings the song's chorus (despite different lyrics) almost exacltly like the bridge from "Nothing Really Changes" on Arms Around The World, doubling as a bit of a nod to his past work. "Can't Live A Day" is a little bit like the ugly duckling of the album. While it hardly feels like anything else on the record, it's the kind of song that is likely to get lodged in your head on repeat with a chorus that proclaims, "And I can't live a day without You / Won't last a minute if I try / Can't live a day without You by my side," putting our thoughts in the right place as we reflect on our dependence on Christ. To close Lost In Egypt, Blaze resurrects Code's first number one single from 1993, "Something Real," giving it a new rendition for a new generation as it remains relevant even fifteen years later. And as a bonus, Blaze caps off the record with his first ever self-produced remix, "Lost In Egypt (Desert Sand Mix)," an electric guitar driven take-two of the title track. It's a fine mix, and good enough to make the idea of future remixes from Blaze a hopeful endeavor.
In the end, Lost In Egypt is a welcomed return from Code Of Ethics. Probably the group's strongest release in thirteen years, this independent release, although rough around the edges (some of the beats are similar from track to track or feel too repetitive), is a great way to reintroduce Code Of Ethics. As Code gets back into the game and stretches their creative wings a bit, old fans and new ones alike can hope this won't be the last we'll hear from the group. Welcome back, Code of Ethics! You've been missed.- Review date: 9/10/08, written by John DiBiase
Record Label: Razzbarry Records / KOCH
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