“Among the Tides”, the latest release from Columbia’s Cover of Afternoon, recalls a not-so-bygone era of emo and post hardcore with a serious modern edge that separates them from their antecedents. With a major stylistic nod to ‘00s bands like Thrice, Bayside, Armor for Sleep and the Early November and a fringe of proggy leanings that remind me of both older pop-oriented hardcore like Shades Apart and long-running indie stalwarts Trail of Dead, they have the benefit of a familiar sound at first listen. I would even be inclined to draw comparisons with another now defunct Columbia band, the great Burns Out Bright. What creates their own identity, however, is the dual vocal attack of guitarist Allen Bishop and bassist Alex Roberts, which always stays clean, professional and capable of delivering lyrics with a deeply personal atmosphere. The playing benefits from the great musicianship of each member, including drummer Reid Mewborne, who keeps his kit busy, but never over the top. The whole album has many moments where the group’s talents verge on the mathy, but they never go full nerd-out, and always keep a pop target in their sights.
Album opener “Recoil”, with its declaration of “F*** you and all your friends”, has nice spacey guitar lines that still attack with a lot of fervor. It’s an indicator of the theme of the album, which deals with relationships grown awry, their fallout, and eventually, possible redemption. Most everything here feels nostalgic, if you listened to any emo in the last 15 years or so. The songs are full of melody with plenty of pop aspirations. The soaring vocals and melancholy guitar riff in “Paper Planes” are a high point. “Harlot” and “Not Afraid” both feature some nice piano work, the latter being my favorite song on here. “Scars” is a perfect example of the groups vocal trade offs, which give Cover of Afternoon a lot of their identity. Songs like “Vitamin B+” move between moody and epic at the drop of a hat and it always feels like a natural shift for the listener.
The believable and relatable stories in “Among the Tides” will easily and inevitably lend themselves to inspired crowd sing-a-longs. As long as Cover of Afternoon continues to harness their creativity and keep releasing such powerful rock music, they should be destined for some big-time popularity before long.
Recommended if you like: Thrice, Armor for Sleep, Shades Apart.
Sean Knight is a native South Carolinian who has spent his life bouncing back and forth between SC and Texas, playing in bands you probably never heard of in both states and stinking up open-mic nights in the Low Country for many years. He plays, collects, listens to and probably spends too much of his life obsessing over music.