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Factors Of Four – Whoa!!! EP

whoa

Factors Of Four – Whoa!!! EP (self-released)

There’s a ton of fresh music talent in this world.

The trouble is finding it- unless it finds you; then your job as a music writer is made about ten times easier. Wading through all the crappy bands that send you “New Friend Requests” on the MySpace is like walking deep into a sewer- you’re almost bound to get shit right up to your knees. Most of that soggy excrement I didn’t ask for, but it keeps coming at me in the form of over-wrought singer/songwriter crap, lousy death metal or bands that assume I’ll like them because they were compared to The Hold Steady or Dirty Projectors in a review somewhere.

Thank god for young bands with moxie- Philadelphia-based Factors Of Four has a ton of it. I’ll also mention that they have easily accessible songs, nice instrumentation, hooks for days, a lead singer with a wonderful voice and a six-song EP that shows so much promise it’s going to be hard to hold this band back. Refreshing is the one word I’d use to describe their sound; if I could boil the EP down into one overarching statement (even though it’s shitty and reductive of me) that’s what they represent to me.

Having written for a music magazine back in Philly, I can say (for a city its size) that there’s a lot of sub-par bands inhabiting the 215- I had to cover a few. There’s also some of the most amazing bands there. Factors Of Four I’d throw into the latter; and to expand on how their sound is so refreshing to my ears I’d liken it to accidentally coming upon an oasis in a desert.

I love their official bio, from their band site: Our name and the amount of members in the band is a coincidence. Factors of Four is made up Naomi, Tim, Ed and Frank, occasionally Albert plays with us too. We started out at the end of the summer is 2007 and wrote 3 songs in a weekend so that we could play a show the next weekend. After a few line up changes and countless acoustic shows we got our act together and recorded our first Ep entitled “Whoa!!!” and similtaniously released an acoustic Ep dubbed “Im Not Creative”. We are playing shows as much as possible playing anywhere and everywhere and with a trip to Lowell in April, a tour in the works for June to be accompanied with a Full Length release. Now we are a band that loves working out of sweaty basements and cluttered bedrooms.

The EP is a stunning little gem of jangle pop; it reminds me of that Rough Trade C86 cassette I had when I was twelve (Primal Scream, The Soup Dragons, The Pastels, The Wedding Present, et. al.) If Factors Of Four is referencing that era with their music, then they are a savvy bunch of individuals. However, based on their ages; I’d say it’s accidental. And a lovely accident nonetheless. They perfectly capture the feel of those aforementioned “sweaty basements and cluttered bedrooms” with their own brand of late-teen angst.

The EP opens with the feel-good sing-a-long It Shines, with its “whoa-oh-oh’s” and “go ahead boy / go ahead get down” bridge section, replete with screamy vocals from Ed. It’s a smile-inducer. What Good Your New Eyes Will Do continues the goofy grinning, it’s almost criminal how happy this collection of songs makes me. Partially because I’m proud these kids grew up in my hometown, also because I know Eddy (and his eclectic taste in music as well). I’m also loving Naomi‘s vocals in Happy Hour; there’s a hint of awkwardness in her voice which I find so endearing, kind of the way I find Colin Meloy‘s reedy vocals or Will Oldham‘s country warble equally as endearing.

Penny Wars is (correct me if I’m wrong) about raising money for a charity; here it’s about longing: “…suffice to say / you seem miles away / the surface penetrating / I find myself constantly waiting…” Or it’s about another homeroom collecting more pennies than yours. Either way, there’s a bit of mystery. It either is or it isn’t, and there has to be ambiguity in lyricism- that whole mystique can’t be shattered by a music critic.

12th Street is Naomi‘s best song vocally; my girlfriend said (while she was making dinner last night as I was in here making notes for this review) how good her voice was- there’s an infinite amount of promise in those pipes, as well as the hooks contained in their tunes; there isn’t a chorus passage, drum fill, solo or bridge out of place- it’s a cohesive sounding collection of songs. The EP closes itself out (much too early) on the ironically titled Song 1, sounding like an early New Order track (Ceremony, Age Of Consent).

It’s funny that I was listening to most of what this reminds me of as Factors Of Four was being born; and that’s part of the genius contained therein. Accidental or not, this band has made something to be proud of, to show it off, call it their own.

Please keep making music!

Tracklisting:

1. It Shines

2. What Good Your New Eyes Will Do

3. Happy Hour

4. Penny Wars

5. 12th Street

6. Song 1

Factors Of Four is Naomi- Vocals, Tim- Guitar, Ed- Bass, Frank- Drums

Visit their MySpace!