This self-titled debut finds Auckland-based Thee Rum Coves continuing the strong lineage of garage rock from ‘60s originators like The Sonics, through the UK beat and punk scenes, the power pop of Sunnyboys and onto its modern manifestation in bands such as The Hives and The Datsuns. Two members (singer/guitarist English Jake and bassist Jimmy Christmas) were founding members of New Zealand’s The D4 and with the production skills of legendary local producer Bob Frisbee the quintet have corralled their influences and experience into a tight, brisk and compact album; overflowing with hooks and contagious energy.
The economy of the songs and brevity of its 33 minutes are key aspects of the record’s success; the band clearly focusing on keep the arrangements simple and letting the riffs and vocal melodies shine. Even when they loosen the reins on the instrumental ‘Cosmos’ with its psychedelic washes of keys and guitars they resist the temptation to stretch it out to an extended jam. They leave the listener wanting more which is always the sign of a good band.
Three vocalists in the band add another twist to the sound of Thee Rum Coves, particularly Kendall Elise’s voice which disrupts the potential notion of a rock n roll boys club. She adds the shimmer and shake to the songs, the sass to their rock shapes and it works well. Lyrically they stick to the tried and true traditions of garage rock – love, lust, broken hearts and societal angst plus a bristling jab at the government, privacy and surveillance on ‘GCSB’.
Thee Rum Coves are no genre copyists; they’ve proven their ability to authentically capture the soul and essence of garage rock and cross pollinate it with other styles without losing sight of the importance of killer songs and riffs that smuggle their way into your short-term memory in broad daylight and refuse to leave.
this review was first published on UnderTheRadar.co.nz