Cover Drive’s ‘Bajan Style’

7 May

Cover Drive are a young four-piece band from Barbados that have brightened-up the British air-waves with their exotic and catchy tunes. They have been received well here in the UK, especially with the hit single ‘Twilight‘ that débuted at number one in the charts. ‘Lick Ya Down‘ and ‘Sparks‘ were also released prior to their début album, ‘Bajan Style,’ showcasing what Cover Drive have to offer. All three singles gained a great deal attention as they are considered reminiscent of the early Rihanna (the singer responsible for Cover Drive’s emergence after they supported her shows), and providing fresh and playful pop songs that appeal to many music lovers.


Lick Ya Down‘ is the fiercest and most intriguing sound with a reliance on their reggae heritage which is seen in the use of the steel-drums. The other singles, however, are much more radio-friendly as they take on a more romantic image, conforming to the conventions of typical pop music. Throughout the whole album, there is a coherent flow of reggae beats with a battle amongst the ferocity and attitude seen in ‘Lick Ya Down‘  against the gentle and romantic characteristics of ‘Twilight‘ and ‘Sparks‘. It is a very energetic and fun album that possesses numerous dance-hits that will go down well at any party but at the same time it is controlled and easy to enjoy for it lacks the overwhelming vocal charisma and electronic noises that are adopted by most current artists – Rihanna included – thus there is an authenticity about it as the band shows off their musical talents without fear of sounding over-produced. I will admit, though, that there are moments in which the vocals appear to be accompanied by an auto-tuning which does bring it down, but this is easily ignored because the colourful music back-drop proves distracting – there is definitely more emphasise on the music than on the vocals.

Track-by-track breakdown:

The intro to the album, ‘Bajan Style (Intro)‘, is an effective warm up, hinting at the styles and sounds that you can expect to hear throughout the album. It is a challenge that exudes pride in being Bajan with its infectious beat and loose rhythm.

Their hit single, ‘Twilight‘, brings down the fierceness and replaces it with a sensuous romantic theme. It is a lively pop piece that is typically catchy with ‘oo-la-oo-la’ hooks stringing the chorus together. Built up by energetic drums and key-board synths, it has hypnotic rhythm to get those hips moving if the catchy melody has not already got you singing along. The pop element is strong, as it is a very simple piece of writing in terms of  music with the lyrics being both basic and poetic in their repetitiveness. Amanda Reifer provides very strong vocals that are well controlled, but the male vocals have been auto-tuned which takes away the track’s freshness.

Lick Ya Down‘ follows, re-establishing the fierce Bajan vibe heard in the intro. The phrase is actually Bajan dialect for ‘knock you down’, giving us a sense of internationalism and exoticism which is only further emphasised in the musical back-drop.The bright steel-drums contrast with the gritty synths and guitars but the overall sound is very edgy and playful as reggae meets pop-rock. Unfortunately there are moments in the vocals in which it sounds slightly over-produced, interfering with the raw power.

The next track, ‘Headphones‘, takes the previous two and puts them into one. It is a very fierce and exotic sound both in music and vocals with a hint of the gentle and catchy pop element seen in the clear chorus. The verses rely on guitars with Reifer’s vocals taking  a teasing tone, but the chorus is less edgy with a harmonious vocal display as the beat is steadied and controlled. This balance of two different sounds emphasises the subject-matter of the lyrics that explores the affects of falling in love; the sexual against the more innocent. It is overall, a very effective and catchy track.

That Girl‘ follows, a short piece but still effective. It is a seductive track with strong vocals and an energetic reggae beat that brightens up the chorus. Just like the previous, the verses and chorus contrast in sound with the latter being bright and the former being fierce.

Romance returns in the next track, ‘Sparks‘. Overall, it is a very pretty song with wonderful lyrics and a timid piano melody hiding behind the heavy drum beats. Reifer’s vocals are flawless as the song verges on ballad with her power. T-Ray Armstrong’s vocals are auto-tuned which gives it an electric vibe which contrasts with Reifer’s authenticity. It does work in that the imagery related to the term ‘sparks’ is energetic like the electronic vibe but at the same time gives it an over-produced sound.

Explode‘ carries on with the electronic vibe with its scratchy synths and guitars, the chorus picking up the tempo with a reggae twist. It is a very tame track, that is easy to listen to. The beat is steady and the vocals are controlled; it is overall pretty minimal with a reliance on repetition in the lyrics.

Wrongside‘ is a pop-reggae track that reminds me of Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’ in the verses. It is a bright and catchy summer melody. The strings in the background give it a classical depth that provides a pop character. The reggae sounds are overwhelming in the vocals, as the Bajan dialect is hard to miss, re-establishing that exotic effect seen in the earlier songs.

The next track takes on an R&B twist alongside the coherent reggae with Reifer’s vocals sounding stunning. ‘Can’t Live In A World‘ is a lovely land-back love ballad. The full emphasise is on the vocals, with the music remaining controlled and gentle to allow the vocals to captivate you. It is a beautiful and seductive song, showing that there is a gentle side to the fierce and sensuous Bajan attitude.


Hurricane‘ picks it up again with a every exotic and seductive sound that will be a huge hit on the dance floors. There is a lot of energy in the music with the infectious drums beats and bouncy keyboard synths providing a lively atmosphere. The vocals are well controlled with the usual pop and reggae elements bouncing off each other. The lyrics and melody have a catchy flow that are basic pop with a sensational vibe; “Love me like a hurricane/Baby take my breath away”.

The final song, ‘I Know You Too Well‘ is a very playful reggae piece that demands attention. Just like the rest of the album, it is an infectious and catchy tune with an exotic twist. Seductive and fun contrasting against the serious nature of the relationship-based subject matter. It is an ending that leaves you wanting more, there is not any closure or taming of the sound; it remains fierce.

The album ends with ‘Bajan Style (Outro)‘ which does not help the desire for the fun to continue. It is just as luring and fierce as the opening.

Every song on the album is lively and fun, each with a unique twist. Captivating exoticism and  seduction, ‘Bajan Style‘ is a must have for any sensational Summer party.

Here is a taste for you. The début single, ‘Lick Ya Down‘.

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