Hardcore alternative rock band Cove are set to self release their sophomore EP A Conscious Motion this Friday, 23rd March. I immediately pounced on this promo as it hit the editor’s box. “Er, you might just wanna take a listen first, I’m not sure it’s quite your brand of alternative – but ya never know!” I’m advised by Ross (Music Editor) “It’s ok,” I respond, “I know Cove very well.” Indeed, I was quite blown apart by their debut We Were Once Lost, realising I’d not listened to it for a while, I gave it another spin and it excited me as much now as it did then.
But I totally get what Ross was implying and for those of you who’ve read my stuff before will know I like my rock as hard and heavy as it comes, raucous and fuzz laden, but I wouldn’t class myself as a metal head (for want of a better word). This self proclaimed ‘metal mob’ are teasing me into the dark side but if you’re expecting a review of genres, sub genres and comparisons, I won’t begin to pretend I know enough about the subject to go there. I was therefore overjoyed to read this in the press release: “We got bored of being compared to sounding like other bands, we wrote to sound like Cove” – refreshing, we’re on the same wavelength, Cove!
Cove have completely stepped it up a gear with this second EP A Conscious Motion, whether it’s just the natural growth and development of the band or the introduction of new vocalist Ben Shorten (who has worked with the band as their sound engineer prior to joining) but whatever it is, it’s working! The production is immense offering the perfect balance and layering of sounds so that everyone has their talent heard.
Highlights come in the first three tracks. Kicking off with “Coincide Collide”, it had me hooked from the get go. Tapping drums (Jack Bowdery) and an ominous bass (Charlie Smith) are gradually layered upon with enticing riffs (Ben Brazier and Pete Woolven), creating a tense atmosphere before the drums slam in, drenched in distorted guitars. It pulls back a little then as Ben’s clear vocals shine through with intermittent pained screams, the chorus is colossal – his distress evident in every howl. The contrast of a piano solo at the very end is stunning, it left me speechless. This is a prodigious opener, leaving me gagging for more.
Not coming up for air, “Solis” blasts in at break neck speed, a guaranteed pit opener. Chugging riffs, a doomy, commanding bass and guttural, raging vocals punch you in the gut, you feel every word, an emotive and soul searching number. I literally held my breath for the whole song, outstanding!
“All I Believe” kicks in with off beat drumming, and sublime calm vocals, emphasising Ben’s diverse talent and lulling you into a false sense of security. Huge screaming choruses soon kick in, providing some of the heaviest riffs on this EP. Dealing with feelings of loss, bitter lyrics are spewed out in agony, and yet again a racy, devilish bass drives this track.
A much needed and haunting instrumental track comes in next, in the name of “Host”. At just under a minute and a half, weeping guitars and ominous drumming envelope this atmospheric number. I’m sure it will be a welcome breather at any show.
“Reflect and Resolve” is the perfect EP closer, accumulating everything above, in a huge swell of noise, it sums up the whole feel of this EP. A fast, harsh intro, inducing head banging and foot stomping. Snarly, gruff vocals are screamed from outside in the corridor at times giving this track a nice edge. Urgency and frustration during the first half of the track is replaced with a sense of acceptance that comes towards the end, following an ethereal bridge. Simply sublime.
Cove have upped their game tenfold! If you like any form of hard rock music, this is definitely for you. Very cleverly bridging the gap between metal and rock, they’ve opened themselves up to a wider audience or maybe my taste in music is evolving. Whichever it is, this is an outstanding EP, guys, now bring on the LP!
A Conscious Motion is out 23rd March – you can get it via the band’s website.