Covet Walk Us Through the Fantasy World of Their New LP “Catharsis”

Yvette Young breaks down each track on the mathy trio’s third full-length, out now on Triple Crown Records.
Track by Track

Covet Walk Us Through the Fantasy World of Their New LP Catharsis

Yvette Young breaks down each track on the mathy trio’s third full-length, out now on Triple Crown Records.

Words: Mike LeSuer

April 17, 2023

Sometimes the most narratively focused records are also the records with the smallest lyric sheets. Such is the case with West Coast math-rock trio Covet’s third and latest full-length, Catharsis, an eccentric dive into the world of fantasy—and also, notably, an album that only features singing on the opening track. “I think of really specific worlds and characters to try to write the theme song for—like a score for a movie that hasn’t been made yet,” shares band leader Yvette Young, who seems almost as inspired by her limitless sense of imagination as she is by the wide range of gear at her fingertips for the record’s writing sessions.

Technical wizardry aside, tales of the Wild West and miscast spells abound on the instrumental stretches of Catharsis, a project that Young describes as an escapist world of light fantasy. Opening track “Coronal” initially came together when she was experimenting with different tones and pedals, its heliocentric title referring to the blistering hot sounds of the shoegaze riffs pumping out of her amp. It seems that a virtuosic approach to guitar and a vivid imagination go hand-in-hand for the songwriter, and the results have never sounded more streamlined than they do on the wandering new LP.

With the album recently dropping via Triple Crown Records, Young took the time to walk us through Catharsis to reveal her own internalized storylines—and the specific gear that inspired them—for each of its eight tracks. Hear the full album below, and read on for Young’s thoughts.

1. “Coronal”
Most of the songs on the record were inspired by tones I got from exploring and demoing different pedals. This song happened when I plugged into a fuzz/reverb and the resulting tone sounded so blistering and hot, it reminded me of the surface of the sun (hence the name). As the only track with lyrics on the record, and a bit of a deviation from our older sound, I wanted it to be an impactful, shoegazey gateway song into the lighter fantasy world that the rest of the album lives in. The lyrics deal with ideation and escapism while the physical world around us crumbles. In some ways, music itself is a form of escapism—I know it certainly has been for me. I’m so excited to make more music in the vein of this track.

2. “Firebird”
This one is supposed to make you just smile and take you for a total melodic joyride. My mom got a Pontiac Firebird as her first car when she arrived in California from Beijing. Yeah, it was a flex—her pride and joy after working two jobs and going to school to start a new life for herself in a totally new country. I wrote this song as a tribute to that and also as a joyful celebration of living life to the fullest in all its glorious color. Times can get tough, but little moments like cruising the California coast in a souped up convertible can remind you that things can be light-hearted, not everything is so dire and serious, and that you’re supposed to be having fun along the way. And yeah...the ’80s ruled, and I’m all about ultra-lush JC-120 choruses and epic distorted solos.

3. “Bronco”
This entire song was inspired by the stutter sound on a BOSS DD-3. The visual I imagined for this song was basically a horse bucking around erratically in the Wild West, but perhaps, like…in outer space? I know that sounds insane but I think of really specific worlds and characters to try to write the theme song for—like a score for a movie that hasn’t been made yet. I feel like this is the most traditionally “mathy” song we have, perhaps closest to what people expect from us. I know I’ve deviated from that sound a lot and expanded on it, but I didn’t want to stray too far from home here. 

4. “Vanquish”
This was inspired by the multidelay on the Hologram Microcosm. Originally the main riff was part of a demo I did, but it made me feel so strongly that I wanted to develop it more into a full song. The song has a triplet feel which made me think of galloping. The imagery I have here is a young page in medieval times riding a horse urgently on a mission to save their village that is under siege. I was hoping the overall tone would feel fast-paced, victorious, and hopeful—but end on a rather intense note.

5. “Interlude”
I wanted this record to be pretty seamless, and it was a challenge bridging “Vanquish” with “Merlin” because of the disparate keys—so I wanted to write a track that could serve as a segue and a bit of a breather from dense effects and guitar. I wanted this to feel like a glimmer of hope, but have it descend back into a bit of a more austere and heavy mood to set up for “Smolder.” 

6. “Smolder”
This was inspired by the Black Hole Symmetry from Collision Devices. I wrote the main theme originally as a demo, but once again thought it would be a shame to not just finish it into a whole song. I just wanted this one to feel massive and almost overwhelming. Like looking at a huge, looming pale moon in the night sky and feeling insignificant…but in a liberating way.

7. “Merlin”
This song was inspired by me wanting to demonstrate that the feel of a riff can change depending on what effects and tones you present it with. I started with a sparkly but dark chorus and then play the same thing with some distortion, giving it a bit of edge. I imagined a wizard living in the middle of an enchanted forest casting spells and having them misfire. The ending of the song is more chuggy and angular and I imagined the chunky, chordy parts like spells hitting things and ricocheting off. 

8. “Lovespell”
I wanted to make sure we left this journey together on an uplifting note. The closest feeling I get to falling in love is when I write and play music, and this song is a tribute to that feeling of being totally smitten by the joy of creation and feeling things deeply and intensely. As mentioned, It was important to me to leave everyone on a high note (in this case, a saxophone solo provided by the amazing Alex Rose from Minus the Bear). I was very inspired by electronic dance music and pop for this track and wanted to pay homage to this band Perfume for one of the riffs in the middle of the song and see how I could merge it with the world of rock guitar. Also I really wanted to showcase how cool cascading delays can be, and how much they can make a part open up and bloom.