The demigenre of instrumental rock as sweeping classical/epic soundtrack had long been established by default by the time of Codes in the Clouds' 2009 debut, so little surprise that Paper Canyon fits into a tradition almost too well. The echoes of Slint, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and plenty of others can be heard, if in a slightly gentler and more romantic sense than some (the leading guitar on "Distant Street Lights" being a good example). But while it's agreeable enough listening, it is little more than that, crescendos and sudden shifts in volume and more besides now following a well-worn road instead of suggesting new and breathtaking possibilities. The band itself may find a next step down the road, but that will only take some time.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett