Nestled in the Thames Valley – in Reading more precisely – a band has quietly grown from the roving countryside and confluence of rivers. A tidy four-piece comprised of lifelong friends Ethan Morgan (Vocals/Guitar) and Connor Coutts (Guitar), along with Ellis Morgan (Bass/Vocals) and Matt Jamieson (Drums) make up the musical enterprise of roves. With four singles to their name within the space of last year, roves have begun 2019 strong with a debut EP, a strung out pilot, released in February.
Consisting of four lyrical compositions and one instrumental, a strung out pilot speaks volumes in the small ambient sounds that come together throughout this collection. The band is self-described as writing atmospheric, sad songs. Grounded in the trials of relationships and the wandering spirit of flight, the EP puts forth the band’s best qualities in a narrative that is indeed atmospheric with a tinge of melancholy.
‘i’ introduces us to the wonderful vastness of roves’s sound. Wandering free through musical space, the characteristic lightly fuzzy guitar riffs contrast a delicate progression and airy touch of the instrumentals. Capped by light vocalization, the number leads seamlessly into previously released ‘Beneath My Skin.’ Spacious and everlasting, the poetic lines of almost-title track reverberate in the hollow Morgan’s vocals leave behind. “Hold me over the water floating / You’ll be the one to bear me / Here beneath my skin,” he sings.
Leaving a visceral and haunting note in its wake, the EP journeys on to brighter flights in ‘Florence.’ The charm of roves’s craft is partly due to their lyrical synchronicity. Pieces of verse are often found echoed from song to song, drawing a lovely narrative thread throughout the EP. Despite the more hopeful tune in ‘Florence,’ Morgan utters, “This was all our freedom / then why do I feel trapped beneath our skin you’ve kept me in” before all he asks of is time.
And everything comes in time. Fourth track ‘Wonder’ arrives drowned in a gentle nostalgia, and a sweeping poetic lyricism. “A new dawn sweeps through the gaps in the sky and into winter / but I found comfort in the grey / I don’t know if this is the way,” the song begins. Lost in empty space, Morgan’s unique vocals search for a place to hold, while the instrumentals swell in emotive roving waves of sound that wash over the listener in a quiet bliss.
Perhaps the most subdued track in the collection, the EP ends on ‘She.’ With a greatly stylized vocalization, “We’ll brave the weather,” peels from the ending verse. Wrapped in gentle clarity, pristine chords usher the song along to a resounding conclusion, for both song and EP.
Quite befitting to their name, with eyes wide open, a strung out pilot tests the mileage, wandering through various determinations, reminding us the age-old adage, it’s not the destination but the journey. And roves lead us down a beautifully crafted musical path.
roves’ debut EP, A Strung Out Pilot is out now.