Holy Coves – The Hurt Within single review

Single cover

Every time I am in Cardiff, I have this habit of vinyl shopping. For new releases I usually go to The Spillers Records, for second hand and old-time rarities there`s Kellys Records. Awesome and quirky shops, worth checking if you ever find yourself in Wales. In both places, they pride themselves with promoting local bands and I was told about the brilliance of Welsh artists there more times than I can count. Scott Marsden happened to be mentioned on a regular basis. And if I have forgotten about him for a bit, then last week the lovely folks at Yr Wyddfa Records reminded me by sending me a killer track of his to review.

Marsden is a bit of a cult figure. He started out in a band The Lizzies (with whom he recorded sole album “St John”) and has been fronting Holy Coves for over a decade (releasing two records “Ynys Môn”, “Peruvian Mistake” and “The Droner” EP in the process). He remains primary writer and singer for every project.

Holy Coves may not have a defined line up, but their latest reincarnation is a jaw dropping affair. Besides Scott Marsden, it features Jason Hughes (The Pain Killers) on bass, Owain Ginsberg (We// Are// Animals, Hippies vs. Ghosts) on guitar, Spike T Smith (Morrissey, The Damned) on drums and John Lawrence of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci on guitar.  “The Hurt Within” was created with this incredible ensemble and recorded at the Penhesgyn Hall Studio on the isle of Anglesey, with Lawrence and Marsden acting as producers. The single was mixed by Erik Wofford (Bill Callaghan, The Black Angels) at the Cacophony Recorders in Austin, Texas.

Holy Coves by Dai Eastwood

“The Hurt Within” will be released on March 25th as a digital single but is already available for listening on the band`s Soundcloud. I truly hope that as the time goes by and the queues at the pressing plants are smaller, it will be given a proper physical launch. Because it is such a wonderful track, maybe on a quiet, psychedelic side (but don’t call it a ballad) but full of ache, pain and emotions raging on the sides. You can almost feel like a confidante to Marsden when he is quite obviously telling his life story though words and notes. Such honesty comes rarely in music and when found, it deserves all the praise. There is something in Scott Marsden that puts him in the same league as Damien Jurado or Shawn Smith.

I am truly amazed at the quality of music that keeps on coming out of Wales this year. 2022 may be a breakthrough year for Welsh independent music. Actually, it`s long overdue.

Diolch yn fawr to Bethan for introducing me to “The Hurt Within”.

You can follow Holy Coves on socials:


Malicia Dabrowicz

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