Covet Credit: Howie Chen

The music of math-rock bands such as the Ruins, Tricot, Lightning Bolt, and Don Caballero is often loud, swaggering, and aggressive, and at the very least angular and spiky. But California three-piece Covet manage to make the rapid time-signature changes and arpeggiated figures that seem intrinsic to the style sound laid-back. The band’s music has some parallels with the classical-jazz fusion of Japanese pianist Hiromi, but because front woman and guitarist Yvette Young provides its foundation with her intricate, liquid strings of notes, it has a welcome rock edge. On Covet’s 2018 album, Effloresce (Sony), they turn the impossibly twisted melody that opens “Falkor” into a catchy tune through sheer virtuosity, a la Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” They showcase their dexterity throughout the record: On “Howl” they deliver the world’s smoothest stagger, with Young weaving her guitar lines around a fractured prog beat laid down by drummer Forrest Rice. “Shibuya,” which features Dutch DJ Han Soso, is jaunty enough to work as an indie-pop soundtrack for a hit teen drama. As with all math-rock bands, it’s a treat to watch Covet assemble their music live—Young’s fingers run up and down the fretboard like amphetamine-fueled but nonetheless very mellow spiders.   v