An Ethereal Maelstrom: COVET - Technicolor Review

COVET's sophomore full-length is a transcendental, multilayered coalition of sound.

Words by Rohan (@manvsplaylist):

Here at Heaviest of Art, we keep a broad musical horizon. Our ears are kept close to the ground. The underground. The extreme. Sometimes the serene. With an inquisitive sonic palette, we enjoy the chance to help shed light on music that reaches a higher plane and connects way beyond the surface level. The new album by Northern California’s COVET caught our attention for all those reasons. Let us help unpack a few of the gems that are contained in their new record Technicolor, set for release on Friday, June 5th via Triple Crown Records.


The band are comprised of guitarist, vocalist (and current guitar gear-nerd-worship darling) Yvette Young, Forrest Rice on drums and David Adamiak on bass. The band’s previous output consisted of the currents EP (2015) and debut full-length effloresce (2018). What’s notable in comparison to these prior works is the strides COVET have taken in expanding the richness and vibrancy of their sound, and the greater confidence and ambition they appear to have to approaching this new collection of songs. There is so much character on display all throughout Technicolor that just makes the album so infectious & enjoyable.


The opening track good morning hits perfectly: a reverb-heavy sliding guitar layer atop some gentle loops of harmonics set the stage for what is a journey into the sublime. Technicolor is a joyous venture into a tightly knit collage of syncopated rhythms, bright & fluid guitar licks and warm, anchoring, constantly-running bass lines. This opening track, and the rest of the album as a whole is the audio equivalent of the glistening late afternoon sun bouncing off gentle waves meeting the shore - that warm, familiar comforting feeling. Such is the nature of this entire album: you will be transported, elevated, and swept away.


COVET’s brand of absorbing instrumental virtuosity shares some parallels with other progenitors of this style of fluid-mathy-jazzy rock such as TTNG and personal favorites hailing from Japan - TOE. Guitarist Yvette Young employs a captivating brand of hammer-on, tapping, sliding guitar work that brings to mind the wizardry, command and melody of Canada’s Antoine Dufour. Her complex phrasings & patterns are a wonder to explore (check the intro riff to aires) and help define the overall aesthetic of the band, but never drift into mindless wandering or self-congratulating dexterity.


On Technicolor, the band’s sound has been further broadened by the introduction of Young’s vocals. This newly expanded spectrum seems effortless, with Yvette’s sugary touch resting gently above the richly intricate arrangements. Her voice makes its first appearance in the up-tempo number parachute, appearing graciously without commanding attention or appearing as an in-studio ad hoc addition to the band’s style. Her vocal harmony lines effortlessly melt into layers of chorus-soaked clean guitars, lush layers of keys and snappy off-beat snare patterns as the track fades out. While COVET are still a young band, this was a smart addition to their sound and helps add even more flair and character to their approach.


Elsewhere throughout the album, COVET manage to dig out some truly astounding deep passages of groove, such as in the catchy nero and dizzying atreyu. The band have such a tight command on pace, feel and tempo that it almost feels like they’re relishing the challenge of the constant change-up. Sit back and marvel at the trade-off in rhythms that each instrument is keeping on nero, or who is leading the beat. At one moment, the guitars are fluidly strumming chords as the drums assume the driving force, only to tag-team out and swap roles – this time the sliding and sharply punctuated guitar notes hit so precisely that it assumes the major percussive role in that passage of the song. This back & forth role changes hands continually throughout this standout track in an utterly rewarding display of instrumental gymnastics. Somewhere, Kashikura Takashi (drum-god of the aforementioned TOE) is grinning of pride & approval!


While the album is for the most part instrumental in nature, its tone & message is constantly sharp, bright and positive. Technicolor contains a broad variety of ideas, song structures and moods. The synchronicity on display across every track is blinding, a joyous adventure of rhythm & groove. It’s playful. It’s punchy. Eloquent. Every element of the band shines, with a gloriously balanced mix allowing each member to equally share their space in the rich aural universe they have created. Produced by Mike Watts & Frank Mitaritonna at Vu Du Studios (Jefferson Village, NY) with brilliant clarity, the final mix is an ideal tone for a band whose sound is so tight and whose vision is so precise.


There are several moments towards the end of the album where COVET push a little harder, the subtlety giving way to stronger, more driving, forceful rhythms. Whether it be the end of the track aires or the progressive build-up on odessa, these both culminate in some EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY-esque grandeur. The added violin textures, the whammy bar dips, the crescendos that reach skyward – these elements all combine to hold a white-knuckle grip on your attention, and deliver an undeniable positively emotional impact.


COVET’s world they have created here on Technicolor is a maze of color and vibrancy. The flowing, bouncing rhythms are entirely absorbing. The deviously whip-smart playing is ethereal. The creative energy is infectious. The added layers of vocals and violins show a strong, confident maturation in their sound. One gets the feeling that COVET will only continue on this impressive trajectory that has been cast on Technicolor, a notion that is both bewildering and exciting at once.


(Author’s note: this piece was written on Friday, May 29th. Following months of stay-at-home repetition, and with an already-troubling news cycle of disease related casualties spanning the globe, I was dealt another soul reaching sucker punch by watching the terrible situation unfold around the officer inflicted murder of George Floyd and the resulting devastation bestowed on Minneapolis, and spreading hourly across other major cities in the US. The culmination of these events, and the depth of sorrow & despair I felt was profound. I was pulled out of that hole of sadness and negativity by COVET’s music. Now, I could have reached for an album close to heart and familiar to achieve the same result, but having briefly poked around this album the day prior, I was drawn to explore it more. The net result of focusing on this music – these sounds – turned my day around and genuinely helped brighten my outlook. You’re reading this now because you experience the power of music to reach you in these ways, and for me I feel the positivity projected from this record is so profound that it warranted a personal end note. Hit play on the track Odessa, maybe it’ll change your day for the better too. Stay strong – Rohan)

Technicolor arrives on June 5th via Triple Crown Records. Pre-order your copy HERE.

Cover art by Yvette Young

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