Album Review: Covet — “technicolor”

To say that Covet blew up quickly is something of an understatement.  The San Francisco based math-rock darlings are set to release only their second album, technicolor, but they’ve managed to garner an incredibly impressive internet presence, a not-insignificant portion of which is a vehicle to display frontwoman Yvette Young’s fretboard wizardy and bubbly personality.  I’ve been following them for as long as the almighty YouTube algorithm has been recommending me their online lessons and playthroughs, and there is no less dazzle here than previously, but on technicolor, the band manages to stretch textures to their limit and, to great effect.

It’s really hard to believe that the instrumental trio only have a small handful of releases when they’ve put so much content into the world.  Between their own videos, Triple Crown’s music videos (most of which are in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views), features in print and videos for institutions like Guitar World and Premier Guitar, and Yvette’s Instagram stories and live feeds of her practicing and showcasing new ideas, it feels like the band has been around for decades.  It’s easy to see why people keep wanting to see them in videos, promos and lessons, though.  All you have to do is watch them play for 30 seconds and you can see that they genuinely love what they do with a passion that spreads to everyone watching.  Young bounces, hops and grooves while tapping out complex melodies and makes corny puns when tossing out banter, drummer Forrest Rice seems to be perpetually grinning from ear to ear and bassist David Adamiak looks positively serene while running through quick chord and tempo changes.  It’s an attitude that is rightfully infectious, and the overwhelmingly positive attitude Covet’s fans champion them with (full disclosure, I count myself among this crew) makes checking out anything the band is involved in a joy.  Not to mention watching them play, especially Young, makes me torn between wanting to spend every second of my day practicing guitar and taking my entire collection, burning them all in a massive bonfire and never looking back.

Although technicolor is Covet’s sophomore LP, there’s a real sense of maturity in their sound.  While they retain the twinkly, Midwestern Telecaster sound and polyrhythmic fretboard tapping that got them the recognition they rightfully deserve inside and outside the math rock circle, the band decided that for technicolor, the goal was to expand the textures and compositions they pulled from through effects pedals, new dynamics and, for the first time, adding lyrics to a handful of songs.  Young (who also painted the album cover) takes lead vocals on the ethereal “parachute” and jazzy “farewell,” and her voice sounds just as good as you’d imagine it to be.  There aren’t vocals through the whole song, and the effect is that it’s another layer on top of the sonic palette the band lays down, which is fleshed out through a conscious use of more diverse effects pedals.  “The approach was more intentional than before, because we were prepared to use more effects. We deliberately went ‘H.A.M’ with the pedals. As a result, the sound is more ambient. There’s a lot more color,” says Young of the approach the band took to recording this time.  Also featured on the album is special guest and label mate Phil Jamieson of Caspian, who adds post-rock tremolo wailing to the end of “predawn.”  Overall, this is a deeper and more lush record than effloresce, one that is more cohesive and focused on structure and emotion than technical prowess.  Not that there isn’t technical prowess abounding though.

Covet

Math rock doesn’t always appeal to everyone.  Sometimes it’s hard to follow along with songs that are constantly in motion, where it feels like something is always happening and there’s no room to breathe.  technicolor doesn’t suffer from that problem at all.  On the contrary, these songs breathe and flow in ways that are hyper melodic, satisfying and an absolute joy to listen to.  It’s more than the sum of its parts, however great they may be, because it is a team effort.  Every instrument has its moment to shine in a way that serves the song and the atmosphere.  So what if this isn’t a metal album?  It’s fucking good and you should listen to it, right this second.

– Ian


technicolor is available now on Triple Crown Records.  For more information on Covet, visit their Facebook page.

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