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over Drive are as fresh and fun a band as you’ll hear. Based in Barbados, but

in the process of moving to London since being signed to Polydor here this year, the quartet blend their Caribbean sunshine-drenched musical roots with infectious pop hooks honed with A-list writer/producers such as Wayne Hector, Steve Mac, Ina Wroldsen, J.R. Rotem and Future Cut. Cover Drive’s sound is brisk and bright. Aimed as much at the beach and high street as dancefloors. The band likes to refer to it as “sunshine-y, feel-good music.”

Discovered last year after posting just one video on You Tube, a cover of Train’s Hey Soul Sister, mere months after forming, the Bajan quartet are friends who had been making music individually. But when Manda’s manager suggested they all team up, it was then that they hit on the infectious

sound they call ‘Cari-pop’ Their debut single Lick Ya Down, recorded in L.A. with J.R. Rotem is breezy, bass- driven dancehall-pop, based on a Bajan phrase that means ‘to knock you down’.

“Lick Ya Down is what you say when you’re vexed and want to knock someone down,” explains T-Ray. “It’s more used as a verbal threat than something you would actually do. We like using Bajan terms in our songs and wanted to “keep it fun”. Listen to their music and quickly, you realise why they are creating a buzz. The percussive That Girl boasts verses with soca-flavoured beats and high, hypnotic vocals and bursts into a gloriously catchy, reggae- pop chorus. Twilight, on which T-Ray chants, sends perky Euro-pop through a Caribbean blender and soulful love song ‘Sparks’ features both Manda and T-Ray singing over a mix of

piano and electro. Between recording sessions for the album, the quartet continued to post their Cari- pop covers online, reworking the likes of Ellie Goulding’s Starry Eyed, Katy Perry’s California Girls, Jessie J’s Price Tag, and J-Lo’s I’m Into You. Watch them on YouTube and you’ll see T-Ray playing a helmet (worn over a fedora, of course) with a drumstick, playing a shaker of sand in a soft drink bottle, banging cardboard boxes and making beats by scraping the floor with an upside down skateboard.

“Our aim with the album was to have as much fun as we did in our basement,” says Manda. “We definitely did and you can hear it in the songs. They’re about being young, having fun and living in the Caribbean sun.”

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