EP Review: roves – a strung out pilot

How better to follow four class 2018 single releases but with a first EP to cement their sound? Reading based roves follow in their daring push-the-boundaries style with their fresh new EP a strung out pilot.

While I tend to post reviews only about tracks I enjoy, there are some current artists that truly stand out for me and roves accounted for 2 of my personal top 10 tracks of 2018. This February seems mad in terms of new music releases (we reviewers don’t know which way to turn at present) and it would be a true shame if this excellent roves release doesn’t receive the love and attention it deserves. Huddle close people.

I appreciate roves give a sense of space and beauty to their sound; this is totally a strung out experience. I find roves a little hard to classify; but those who chill to spacey atmospheric sad songs and the likes of Dry The River, Morrissey or even a reflective and Coldplay in their less annoyingly smug mode might like to check out these guys (Ethan Morgan (Vocals/Guitar), Connor Coutts (Guitar), Ellis Morgan (Bass/Vocals) and Matt Jamieson (Drums)).   

Opening the show on this EP is the largely instrumental track I; a piece of ambient, fuzzy, hard guitar, backed with some gentle chords and by now characteristic complexity. The track sets the pace and the mood for the EP. The second track is the only “oldie”, the haunting, beneath my skin, released late last year. As an insightful reviewer (OK it was me), said at the time about beneath my skin: “it is a delicious spacious landscape; lazy, dreamy and a promise of many more days in the sun”. The title for the EP is taken from a line on this track, and there is some beautiful poetry in the lyrics.

florence has a lighter rolling floaty feel to it. Here I get some vibe of how these guys could further develop into serious artists with their music and lyrics. The songs main strap line of “all I can ask of you is time” gives the track some suitable gravitas and fits the music perfectly.

wonder is my personal favourite of the five tracks. There’s elements which remind me of the vibe of one of my favourite artists and songs ever; Conesuala by Tyrannosaurus Rex (even if there is 50 years and different genres between the two tracks). Here, I also really get the power of pace and control within the band where they slow things to showcase some delicate notes, and produce a nice solid build up in the chorus to pick the tune back up. she closes the a strung out pilot EP and it feels like if Elvis was 19 and living in Reading in 2019 he might front a song like this. The track is something of an updated torch ballad with gentle fuzzy guitar and an intricate bit of string work. It shows another slightly harsher side to the band.

There’s much to digest and enjoy within this EP collection; Ethan and Connor started working on beneath my skin in a bedroom two and a half years ago, and for them it feels that a long project where other tracks have been produced to fit around this core have finally been shared. For me, it simply cements the promise that roves have been showing throughout the last 12 months and I’m certainly hoping this band have more to share.

Chris R     

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