The Santa Barbara music scene recently gained a stronger foundation with the addition of Layovr. Its unique version of reggae, pop, and rock that they call “trop rock” refreshes the senses with classic reggae roots sprinkled with “’80s rock shredding,” according to the band’s drummer, Evan Monroe. Songs featuring dueling guitar and saxophone solos, spacey keyboard synths, and an in-the-pocket percussion section entertain the brain and leave the audience with big grins.
The quartet is made up of Kevin Harvey (guitar and vocals), Thomas Semow (bass), Joe Farey (keyboards and saxophone), and Monroe. Layovr likens its reggae influence to that of The Police, who often used reggae rhythms in its songs, but don’t consider themselves as solely a reggae or rock band but rather something in between.
Formerly, the band performed as the Advanced Jazz Combo at UCSB and as members of the popular UCSB band, The Fire Department. However, recently the band went through a metamorphosis, ditching a style that catered to the Isla Vista party scene while keeping its tight sound and energetic showmanship. “[The Fire Department] was just a total party band — full horn section, three singers — and it was just for fun, and it was hard to move up and be more professional,” said Farey.
Layovr’s new single “Dusk ’Til Dawn,” which is slated for release October 19, features Harvey on vocals, which is something new for the band. “We’re all instrumentalists first, so this [song] is kind of our first crack at that. We’ve been recording a lot, and that experience … has made me much more comfortable as a singer,” said Harvey. Layovr will be playing several shows around town in the near future, so look out for this band that is “bridging the gap between indie rock and reggae,” said Semow.