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Cover Drive bring sunshine.

COVER 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 this year, the quartet blend their Caribbean sunshine-drenched musical roots with infectious pop hooks.

Aimed as much as the beach and high street as dancefloors, the band likes to refer to it as"sunshine-y, feel-good music".

"I compare usto a pack of Starburst," laughs singer Amanda Reifer, 20. "Okay, I know it's odd, but if you were to take every flavour of Starburst and put one of each in your mouth, that sort of sums up our music. The red isour sassiness, the pink our sweetness, the orange our quirkiness and the yellow our zestiness."

The band - Amanda plus bass player Jamar "Toast" Harding, 18, guitarist Barry "Bar-Man" Hill, 22 and drummer/vocalist T-Ray Armstrong, 17 - were discovered last year after posting just one video on YouTube, a cover of Train's Hey Soul Sister.

"We knew each other for ages, but it never crossed our minds to start a band," says Amanda.

"As soon as we did, it seemed so obvious. We're the perfect fit. I adore pop music, T-Ray likes metal, Jamar likes indie and Barry likes punk rock, but our influences and Caribbean roots meet and create a blend of edgy, feel good music that is unique to Cover Drive."

Their name may come from their homeland'slove of cricket, but it was the covers the quartet posted online that instantly attracted major label attention. One showcase of four Cover Drive originals at their mentor Eddy Grant's house in Barbados later and the quartet had inked a deal and agreed to move to Britain.

"We were persuaded that the UK would be more appreciative of our differences," explains Jamar. "We may be young, but we knew exactly how we wanted our songs to sound."

Between recording sessions for the album, the quartet continued to post their Carib-pop covers online, reworking the likes of Ellie Goulding'sStarry Eyed, Katy Perry's California Girls, Jessie J's Price Tag, and J-Lo's I'm In To You. Watch them on YouTube and you'll see T-Ray playing a helmet 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.

Their debut single Lick Ya Down, released in August, was a massive summer hit, rocketing straight into the top 10 of the UK charts.

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

? Cover Drive support Dappy at the O2 Academy Liverpool on Tuesday. For more details see www.wearecoverdrive.com.

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BRIGHT: Cover Drive play the O2 Academy Liverpool on Tuesday
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2011
Words:484
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