Soft Friday (Released 9/2/14)
Take ’60s garage rock, filter it through catchy ’80s pop like Echo and the Bunnymen, and add in contemporary sensibilities and you have British duo Coves.
There has been a decent buzz around the band years now. After a smattering of singles and EPs they’ve finally released their debut Soft Friday stateside.
It’s tempting to get so lost in Coves’ ethereal soundscapes and catchy melodies that they come off as more indebted to Echo and the Bunnymen than they actually are. Their foundation is actually more grounded in garage rock. Riffs on “Last Desire” and “Let the Sun Go” are straight out of that tradition and “Cast a Shadow” could have been a mid-60s Kinks outtake.
Soft Friday sets itself above many records coming out today because it has a foundation (’80s pop and garage rock) and builds from it in a new, interesting, modern way. Nothing shows this dichotomy more than the arrangements. The heavily echoed guitars and vocals give it an old school feel while swirling synths and soundscapes build them into something wholly contemporary.
The band’s approach is best shown in album closer “Wake Up.” Its riff is garage-y but somewhat complex, its catchiness is reminiscent of the best ’80s pop, and the “wall of sound” style synths give it a fresh feel. Other highlights include sexy, simple riff-led “Last Desire” and energetic opening track “Fall Out of Love” that sounds like ’80s Bowie produced by ’50s Phil Spector in 2014.
I should probably also mention that lead singer Rebekah Wood’s voice is beautiful, versatile, and sexy. At least on par with, and to me far better than, vocalists like Neko Case and Jenny Lewis.
Making creative music is all about having a foundation and building something new from it. On their debut Soft Friday Coves do this well and leave a lasting impression.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik’s music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.