Covers are a tricky beast; alter a song too much, and you risk offending fans of the original, but stick too closely to the source material, and it becomes an almost pointless exercise. It’s with this conundrum in mind that we must tip our hat to Santa Barbara loc Ken Urbina, who makes his debut as Mad Hearts on the four-song EP Take Cover. A honey-voiced R&B crooner at heart, Urbina uses Take Cover to play to his strengths, but the highlights here come in surprising places. Bon Iver’s “Perth” leads the whole thing off with a potent mix of driving bass and twinkling keyboard that pulse behind Urbina’s high vocals, calling to mind electro soulsters like Blood Orange and The Weeknd. Urbina teams up with Chiara Perez del Campo for Take Cover’s highlight: a romantic and space-synthy take on Radiohead’s “Nude” that nicely balances experimentation and homage. Notably, the cover of Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” ends up being Take Cover’s low note, simply because it hits too close to the wellspring. Still, it’s a small misstep in an otherwise stellar debut effort. Visit to listen.


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