It’s time for some more grassroots requests, don’t you think? TOVA are a four piece rock band from the UK. The band, made up of several former members of Dirty Thrills, have been gaining a lot of momentum over the last year or so, getting airplay on Kerrang! Radio and already playing headline shows at London’s infamous Camden Assembly to mark the release of their debut single. The band have been going from strength to strength since the release of Gun Dogs back in March, and have released a total of three singles this year. I’m going to check them out so please, stick around with me and let’s see what they’re like!
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Gun Dogs opens on a pretty simple yet awesome guitar riff, channeling some great, heavy indie vibes. The drums only add to the feeling, too, heavy on the cymbals and making it sound awesome. The instruments drop down a little heading into the verse, some palm muted guitars and less cymbals add a lot of dynamic to the song already. The vocals come in and the Enter Shikari influences are evident, the vocal style and delivery being pretty similar to how Rou Reynolds would perform, the same sort of attitude and power present. The song explodes into a huge chorus, channelling their other big influence, Highly Suspect. They bring back the intro riff in huge fashion and add some massively catchy vocals over the top, some that would go over very well live. The “hey”‘s and “yeah”‘s are easily chantable and the fact that the band joins in on backing vocals for them makes it sound great, almost reminding me a little of Imagine Dragons’ Believer. The guys do such a good job at adding so many layers and dynamics into their songs, too, with a buildup through the first half of the second verse before it goes back to normal. However, where this song really shines is in the bridge and solo. The way it drops down to the lowest point, building up with the vocals and the drumroll getting louder and louder before exploding into a Muse-esque little guitar solo was honestly incredible. They head into a huge final chorus to finish and I can see exactly why this song got such heavy rotation on Kerrang! when it came out. I’m glad I heard it now because it’s turned into one of my favourite songs of this year. Playlisted.
Absent the band’s seemingly temporary replacement for their upcoming debut EP, immediately channels more of the Enter Shikari vibes. It jumps straight in with a great bass-led riff, the drums in the background being quick and eccentric, sounding awesome. Jack Fawdry’s vocals are delivered as more of a rap during this opening verse, too, a lot of emotion showing through in his voice. It builds up into an awesome riff, sounding like something similar to an early Muse song, before some more vocals come in over the top. The vocals sound great but they lyrics are the same lines as we had heard just a few seconds earlier, feeling slightly repetitive to me. The chorus majorly makes up for this, though. It’s hugely catchy gang vocals (maybe even catchier than the first song) sores epically over the top of a heavy riff from the guitar and bass, another massive win for this band. The lyrics in this entire song are awesome, too! They have another Highly Suspect style buildup out of the second chorus before we get another sick riff, this time transitioning into a surprisingly heavy breakdown, the drummer going off on one at times in the best way and some awesome siren type sounds from the synth. The band exit this into a stripped back bar of the chorus before finishing it off in true epic style. 2 for 2 on playlisted songs so far, these guys are awesome!
Finally, Headcount opens with a short audio clip before a sick little drum fill brings us straight into an almost early Arctic Monkeys-esque quick chorus. Jack raps a little again but again I have to point out my disliking of the repetitive lyrics. I get it, but repeating the same lines six times in a row got a little much for me. Heck, at least the riff behind it was great and it all felt before we get a surprisingly slow first half of a chorus, not something I was expecting from the opening of the song. It still sounds great, though, more of a focus on the synth than the heavy distorted guitar to back it this time. It is unfortunately a little less catchy, though that might be because of the lack of backing vocals for this one. The song drops down to a full on rap/hip-hop song for a moment after the second chorus before the guitars join back in and make it sound HEAVY. Some real Letlive or FEVER 333 vibes through this song now, too. We then get yet another change-up after the third chorus, a stepped back synth part that builds up beautifully with the drums into a simple guitar solo/final chorus/epic outro. All of it combined together to sound HUGE, an awesome way to close out the song. Given that it’s only 4 minutes long, they somehow made this song feel slightly prog with all of the different parts they put into it. Another great song!like a little like an odd time signature. It drops down to just synth and vocals for the verse
Overall, I LOVED all three of these songs! They have such a great blend of modern styles, from American indie to more British, heavier stuff yet it somehow still feels unique and different. They have actually been one of the best new bands I have found this year and I cannot wait to hear the eventual album when it finally comes out! These guys are going to hit the big time soon if they keep going like this!
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The review by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths