Merging the sounds of Nirvana, Radiohead and Ash, UK-based grunge band COW is bringing grunge of yesteryear to the 21st Century. Beginning as a means for four musicians to come together and rock the house, COW soon became one of the best up-and-coming bands on the western side of the UK. With a reputation for engaging melodies and inspired performances, the lads have supported the likes of Ali Horn, The Lotts and The Spook Story.
Alongside their sensational gigs, COW is building an international following with features in Janglepophub, link2wales, Sun-13, Counterzine, iHeart and various online radio stations/playlists. In 2021, the group signed with MAI 68 Records and are planning on this year being a big one! The latest addition to their well-received discography is the single ‘Notemakers’.
Recorded in late-2020 with producer Ben Dempsey Sawin (Eitha Da), ‘Notemakers’ is a take on the controversial issue of depression and suicide. Inspired by an article on the proverbial last words of famous musicians and writers, the band was “intrigued by the idea of the last words someone says, hears or writes down…a suicide note, letter of resignation, or a fond farewell and not knowing you will never see or hear that person again” and chose to explore this fragility of the human spirit.
Nodding to the grunge scene of the 90s, COW uses a slow and steady melody to enhance the feeling of painful isolation (as is heard in so many grunge songs). Moreover, the hushed vocals of Kyle Lee are elegantly layered with the sombre instrumentation. Yet, while ‘Notemakers’ has a typical grunge tone with slightly muted guitars, there is a crescendo swelling with Adam Jones’ drums to a catchy chorus and infectious attitude.
As I mentioned, ‘Notemakers’ touches on the provocative issue of suicide, but it does so from a number of perspectives. A tribute to the “final goodbye” of various people, there is a mournful attitude in the lyricism and melody. Oddly enough, and I find this intriguing about grunge music, the execution is lyrically desperate but with a hard-hitting and anthemic melody. A harmonic blending of pain and roaring excitement contributes to the poignant concept. COW takes this on with zeal from Lee’s rich vocals to Matthew Webster’s bass finding the delicate balance between gritty reality and blissful release.
In addition to their single, COW released an official music video for ‘Notemakers’. The video can be viewed here.