Manchester-based 5to4 have just released an EP called Tip It and seem out to try every genre until something sticks. Phil Goss, the group’s mastermind, created 5to4 to experiment with different formats, and that’s just what Tip It does. Electronica, blues, prog rock and indie seem to all be in the mix, with varying results.
The EP’s title track sees Goss’ smooth vocals are accompanied by a sort of ragtime-style piano track. The two aren’t exactly synced up style-wise, and it really clangs in the beginning of the track. The melody switches to something a bit lighter in the middle, however, and the Ben Folds-esque piano softens slightly making for a better marriage with the tones of the vocals. The lyrics don’t seem to be saying much, or are at the very least elusive. Sort of at the progressive end of 5to4’s musical scale, “Tip It” is a little rough around the edges.
“It’s Not That It’s Not,” sees Goss refining the relationship between his soft and pretty Psychedelic Furs-esque vocals and his more plinky and pizzicato tendencies on the piano. They definitely mesh better on this track. The hip hop/jazz fusion beat is flexible enough to allow Goss to play with formats without too much disharmony or loss to the track. With some subtle synths carrying the track along with said beat, it switches styles a number of times without any of the disjointed feeling found in “Tip It.”
“Walk” is the third and final song on Tip It. Largely electronic, this track portends of 5to4’s potential best out of the three tracks on Tip It. Minimalistic, Moog-driven and vintage while still being modern and decidedly indie, 5to4 have something unique and interesting in “Walk.” With tones that evoke the likes of Tangerine Dream, Switched-on Bach and other early electronica, there is potential to add Goss’ wispy vocals to a track like this and make a truly special track.
Some of the other tracks on 5to4’s Soundcloud page show that they may be moving towards a largely electronic sound, but it is clear from the tracks selected for Tip It that Goss has a deep appreciation for indie, blues and prog rock as well. His vocals lend themselves very well to indie and progressive rock, so it is just a question of finding that sounds and instruments can be used to incorporate these other elements but still strike a balance. It’s clear 5to4 are still figuring that out, but they seem to be having fun along the way. Check out Tip It as well as 5to4’s other tracks on their Soundcloud page.