The task of reviewing Cove‘s EP was made exponentially tougher when the first track of A Conscious Motion is the impeccable “Coincide:Collide”. The EP is the second from the Kent quintet, following on from their 2016 release We Were Once Lost.
The five tracks of A Conscious Motion are intended as a broadening of Cove’s sound; exploring new dynamics and opening new doors, versus trying to exist within known or safe confines. In their own words, “We got bored of being compared to sounding like other bands – We wrote to sound like Cove.” Fresh to Cove, and blown away by “Coincide:Collide”, I’m coming at this EP in a state of newness and openness to wherever the five piece opt to take me sonically.
“Coincide:Collide” is skin-crawlingly ominous and hits solidly as its ‘story’ begins. The heavy and teeth-grittingly determined track flows and slithers at its verses, with a fierceness that soon reveals itself more rawly; blistering honesty that has been contained for long enough that it has burned through its encasements. The gorgeousness of the clean vocals at the bridge feel like a last ditch effort for rescue, and the dynamic between that clarity and the previous weighted distortion hits like a thump to the chest (“Can’t save you as you fade out into nothing”). It’s hard to let this song go and move on to the second track when it is so beautifully brilliant.
“I watched your soul fade like a dying sun”
Second track “Solis” was released as a single mid 2017, and seems to act as a bridge between the past and future sound for the band. Noticeably guitar-centric, “Solis” is a furious dive into questioning and trying to understand. With massiveness of sound, the rifftastic “Solis” shakes us awake to what we’re doing to ourselves and others. Its beautifully expansive chorus is a surprise piece of hope in amongst the grit, where angular riffs and raw vocals have been going head-to-head. “Solis” is tension-heavy, making the vocally layered and soaring choruses into breathtaking “wow” moments in the midst of the chaos.
“All you wanted was a glimpse of light
To take us home”
Third on A Conscious Motion is “All I Believe”, which (in Cove’s words) relates to “having everything you stand for fall around you and not being able to relate or connect, whilst desperately holding on to anything that gives a sense of purpose or a reason to carry on.”
“All I Believe” grows into a mammoth sound in its introduction, yet is explored with gentle compassion and curiosity as the vocals begin. This powerful shift in dynamic is moving; a surrender in the midst of the fight and the noise. Bursting out at the chorus, the fight is powerfully apparent again. From there we might think “Okay, I know how this goes now”, and assume the structure that Cove are leaning into. However the second verse throws expectation aside, and shares itself with warmth and a sense of sparser anticipation, before dropping into a dark and entangled vibe. As the track comes to a close, ache is shared with a sense of being suspended in time.
“Host” is an interlude that takes us into orbit for its 1:29 length; suspended above the earth and watching life as it happens from a distance. Echoing and sparse at times, we’re hovering in isolation and facing weighty questions about our existence.
The last on the EP is “Reflect:Resolve”. Beginning dissonant and ominous, weighty riffs are a delicious introduction and a solid reminder of what is great about Cove. The addictive riff rolls on while raw frustration unfolds. Searing and angular, we are soon lost in the distance, as “Reflect:Resolve” builds and then slams; feeling like an assault on our emotions and understandings. There’s a sense of trying to climb and get ahead, but being knocked back by forces too great.
“When can I leave this soul behind?”
Mid track spaciousness feels like reflection and distance, where gorgeous clean vocals are distorted and honest and breathtakingly gorgeous. Strength turns to heartache that’s poured out, and soaring guitar backs the emotional pain. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful and an emotionally rough ending to the EP, and an unmistakeable sense of giving up. I fucking love this.
In fact I fucking love all of this. Five tracks that are impressively strong, unique, creative, and refreshingly different. Five tracks of genuine emotion, where the sound brilliantly reflects the shifting sense of what is thought and felt.
You’re going to want to get your ears onto A Conscious Motion when it releases 23rd March.
I didn't want it to end. Five tracks aren't enough.
Refreshingly unpredictable. Moving due to its shifts in dynamics. Massive sound, vulnerable vocals, emotionally real and moving lyricism. Addictively amazing.