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Review: Cover Drive - IndigO2, London (supporting Dappy)

COVER DRIVE
London IndigO2 - 19th December

With their Caribbean infused pop, hip swinging dancing and a variety of numbers, Cover Drive are a new band on the block.

Supporting Dappy last night at London's IndigO2, they warmed to the sell out crowd, and delivered five tracks with plenty of appeal ranging from a cover  of 'Love Controller', to their new single which is out on 22nd January - 'Twilight'.

But just who are Cover Drive? Amanda, the band’s lead vocalist is quick to explain:

“I compare us to a pack of Starburst,” laughs the 20 year old Bajan lass, “Okay, I know it’s odd, but if you were to take every flavour of Starburst and put one of each in your mouth, that sort of sums up our music. The red is our sassiness, the pink our sweetness, the orange our quirkiness and the yellow our zestiness.”

Typically, the singer is only halfway through her analogy when her eye-rolling band mates try to intervene. 18 year old bassist Jamar and 22 year old guitarist Barry jokingly object to their songs being likened to sweets. Only drummer T-Ray, 17, approves – and possibly only because Amanda used to be his babysitter.

Starburst-style or not, Cover Drive are as fresh and fun a band as you’ll hear. Based in Barbados, but in the process of moving to London since being signed to Polydor here this year, the quartet blend their Caribbean sunshine-drenched musical roots with infectious pop hooks honed with A-list writer/producers such as Wayne Hector, Steve Mac, Ina Wroldsen, J.R. Rotem and Future Cut. Cover Drive’s sound is brisk and bright. Aimed as much as the beach and high street as dancefloors. The band likes to refer to it as “sunshine-y, feel-good music.”

Their name may come from their homeland’s love of cricket, but it was the covers the quartet posted online that instantly attracted major label attention. Dubbed The Fedora Sessions (because they wore fedoras – hat-obsessive T-Ray has a collection of 20 plus) and filmed in T-Ray’s basement, their funky, Caribbean-flavoured re-workings of Hey Soul Sister, B.o.B.’s Airplanes and Ke$ha’s Tik Tok first earned them an offer from Sony in the States. They were considering signing when Polydor stepped in. One showcase of four Cover Drive originals at their mentor Eddy Grant’s house in Barbados later and the quartet had inked a deal and agreed to move to Britain.

“We were persuaded that the UK would be more appreciative of our differences,” explains Jamar. “We may be young, but we knew exactly how we wanted our songs to sound. We were happy to work with experienced writer/producers, but we didn’t want to lose the energy we had when it was just the four of us.”

Indeed, six months spent travelling back and forth from Barbados to London, L.A., New York and, um, Surrey (“It was, er, way too quiet there for us,” sighs Barry) to write and record their debut album and it was complete.

Listen to their music and quickly, you realise why they are creating a buzz. ‘Twilight’ will be a track to watch out for I reckon, and Cover Drive will make a mark over here in the UK.

www.wearecoverdrive.com

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