Bands to Watch #360: Cove Hithe

By on Wednesday, 28th October 2015 at 12:00 pm

The folk / pop / rock hybrid trend has grown into a genre of its own in recent years, blurring the boundaries of contemporary folk music. Fans of modern folk (think of bands like the Melodic or the Young Folk) as well those leaning more toward folk rock (Stornoway, for example) will be equally pleased to hear our latest offering in the style, Suffolk traditional group Cove Hithe.

Led by frontman/songwriter Jay Ducker and multi-instrumentalist Till Pendered, Cove Hithe released their first album ‘Your Ground is My Earth’ late last year. The album is quite short in length; four of its eight tracks come in under 3 minutes long, but its mellow minor-key tone is fully infused with sweet vocal harmonies and ambient natural sounds that echo the introspective and lovelorn lyrics of the songs it contains. The mostly instrumental opening track ‘Slow Life’ figures as a prelude to the album proper, with a sonic background of rushing water and birdsong, and a single spoken line, “I have nothing to say”, interspersed near the end.

But the band do clearly have something to say about the heartache of lost love, which is the overwhelming theme of ‘Your Ground is My Earth’. The echoing backing vocals and subtle harmonic shifts of ‘When the Rain Dries Up’ illustrate the painful emotional shift of romance gone wrong, while the pure acoustic arrangement of ‘I Was Wrong’ allow that song’s honest and tender lyrics to make its forlorn emotional statement.

Some of the finest lyrics on the album appear in its later tracks, following the bittersweet instrumental interlude ‘Spoke’. The melancholic violin melody of ‘How Wild the Wind Blows’ ushers in the Romantic-era inspired poetry of the verses, written by Molly Drake: “the acorn carries an oak tree / sleeping but for a little while / winter lies in the arms of spring / as a mother carries her child”. ‘Unsea’ is more strikingly dramatic, its lyrical lines “in her arms, in her face, in her solemn soul / there she lies, there awaits an emotional storm” punctuated by a turbulent instrumental bridge section before its vaguely tragic close.


The uptempo ‘Comma Coma’ is the album’s most immediately memorable track, breaking up the otherwise somber tone with a quick handclap rhythm and jazz-inflected vocal harmonies playing around the catchy chorus line “don’t you like where you sleep?”. Closing track ‘Somewhere I Don’t Belong’ takes on a more traditional Americana quality, both in its instrumentation and its introspective lyrics about wanting to be removed from the tedium of daily life.

Following an EP titled ‘Beggars & Choosers’ released in January of this year, Cove Hithe’s most recent release is the double-sided single ‘Live at Old School Studios’. Featuring two tracks not included on ‘Your Ground is My Earth’, the single is notably more expansive and dynamically expressive than the album that came before it. ‘The Great Deceiver’ opens with the evocative lyric “cut my tongue on your lips from the blade of your kiss” and centers around a darkly ominous violin melody. Equally heavy and hard-edged, ‘The Stone That is Your Heart’ is propelled by a distinctly visceral drum rhythm and hazy vocal harmonies behind its bitter refrain.

Cove Hithe have received radio attention from BBC 6 Music and recently played at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015, where our own editor Mary was lucky enough to catch them in a live performance (you can read her review right back here). Stay tuned to TGTF for more on Cove Hithe, as we hope to hear more from them in the not-so-distant future.  You can hear more from Cove Hithe in the meantime on their official Soundcloud.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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