Cove’s new line-up doesn’t disappoint — and for those who like it loud and heavy then it might even impress a little bit more than what we were used to. The band’s brand of math-rock seemed to be getting heavier and now when the tracks used to rock they go that extra chunk into doom/metal heaviness. The new bassist’s instrument was put through an extreme amount of distortion, and powerfully rumbled along at low frequencies, sometimes too heavy even for defined notation and always with incredible effect — fitting perfectly alongside the hard, tight drum-work and the scratchy stabs and meaty chugging of the guitar. The band played material off their new 12” as well as older works including the untitled A-side off the self-titled 7”, with vocals.
Following Cove, were Enablers, who call San Francisco and Neurot Records home and are over this way as part of a big tour off the back of their recent Output Negative Space album. Enablers are a kind of jazzy, post-rock performance poetry with vocalist Pete Simonelli regailing beat yarns over correspondingly emotive musical arrangements by Joe Goldring, Kevin Thompson and Joe Byrnes. Goldring and Thompson both play guitars but fill out a whole tonal spectrum alongside the drum-work of Byrnes, who switches effortlessly with the flow of the song from light to angry to rousing and back again. The band recall the emotive, alternatively gorgeous/abrasive spoken-word post-rock of Slint with the warm, intriguing guitar feel of Jeff Buckley.
light driving backbeat and switch between harmonics and dissonances
The show started with the glistening “Up”, the opener from the new record from which the majority of the set was taken — tracks like “5 O’Clock Sundays” with its light driving backbeat and switch between harmonics and dissonances, the title track, and “For Jack A Philippic” with its move into huge riff territory — and they also played a few from off their first record End Note such as the mini epic “Pauly’s Last Days in Cinema”, “Glimpses, Audio: Driving Late” and “And Last Night?” — introduced as “one for the ladies”. The band also offered up several new tracks, one of which was about a laundromat(!), and all of which alongside their released material were performed perfectly; tight, emotive and dynamic, and with Simonelli moving and gesturing with his delivery or alternatively dancing, caught up in the rise in the music between vocal sections.
Seen live it becomes ever more clear how the music would still work impressively and engagingly as instrumental music but simultaneously it perfectly suits Simonelli’s drawl and lyricism. In the performance the latter can not be listened to perfectly, that’s more for the record, instead here the audience catch verses, snippets or shouted lines and they get a feel for what is being discussed or maybe just a glimpse of an image created but thats all thats necessary — the spoken word works perfectly as another part of the sound, as another instrument, which will become lost under the volume of the other instuments at some parts, as it will lead the musical direction for the most part.
Enablers will possibly always recieve criticism for the fact that their set appears samey, but that seems to overlook just how powerful and interesting the band’s material is. Yes their format doesn’t allow for too much variation but Output Negative Space shows how the band can offer many new songs, many new tales and portraits, with their own nuances and moods, and each very worthwhile.