Three Four burst into the Williamsburg music scene after winter break, and they have certainly not been shy about booking gigs. Take a quick look at their Facebook page, and you will see that they have played a staggering number of shows this semester. Chances are, if you walk through the heart of campus very often, you will stumble upon these guys doing their thing (I have done it twice), and here are a couple of reasons why you should stop and take a listen.
The first thing that I noticed when I saw Three Four for the first time was their tendency to layer guitar parts. On some songs, they have as many as three people playing guitar. As a guy who was raised on the classic bands of the ’70s, I love seeing bands with multiple guitar players. However, Three Four is not out to build a wall of crunchy guitar tone a la Blue Oyster Cult and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Rather, they use multiple guitars to create a smooth, warm blend of melody that more closely resembles bands like Explosions in the Sky. In addition, Three Four is far from an instrumental one-trick pony. During quite a few songs, Chris Ayres ’15 switches from guitar to violin, adding an interesting wrinkle to Three Four’s brand of indie rock. In addition, Spencer Small ’16 occasionally takes a break from guitar to pick a tune or two on the banjo.
However, Three Four is not just a band with interesting instrumentation. Their original songs are well written and will please fans of classic indie bands like Local Natives. I had the opportunity to talk with a few of the band members about their influences, and interestingly enough, they cited just about every genre other than indie rock. Singer Brandon Eason ’15 and I discussed rap music, and Small expressed his love for classic punk bands like the Clash and the Ramones. In my opinion, this is a good sign for them. They are not boxing themselves into a genre simply because they listen to that genre all the time. Instead, they are making the music that comes naturally to them.
Three Four is so interesting to follow partly because they are such a new band that is still hitting their stride. Every time I have seen them perform, they improve by leaps and bounds. They have always had good original songs (“Immigrant” is a personal favorite of mine), but as they play more shows, they play their songs with more conviction. Their confidence is skyrocketing, and they are becoming a band that is quite fun to watch. It is no coincidence that they are improving so much while playing so many shows. A wise musician once told me, “If you want to tear your band apart, practice. Playing gigs is the only way to get better.” Three Four is certainly putting in the hard work that is going to help them stick around in the Williamsburg music scene.
Luckily for us, this hard work manifests itself in more shows, and the next time you can see Three Four is Saturday, April 5 at WCWM Fest.