WRITTEN BY: Jessica Gambino
Never underestimate the bands in the underground Philly music scene.
On April 19th, local Philly-based band, The Fifth Side, dropped their first studio album, Crave. TheFifth Side is a duo comprised of vocalist, Mike Buono, and guitarist/bassist, Nick Cavaliere. The two met in high school back in 2008, both very musically inclined and passionate for exploring fresh, new sounds. After going their separate ways for college, Buono and Cavaliere linked up again in 2016 to begin making music and thus, became The Fifth Side.
Their first mixtape, Cognitive Dissonance, dropped last July on SoundCloud and gave the audience a glimpse of their sound — a mix of genres that they describe as “bluesy, vibey, hip-hop soul pop”. The band has spent the past year working on their new album and performing local gigs at venues like the Trocadero and World Café Live.
While the last mixtape was more blues/hip-hop oriented, Crave explores the more soulful, emotional side of the band. The album begins with the track, “Faithful”, a passionate ballad that hooks the listener with its sincerity. The next track “Like I Used To” is more upbeat, creating the perfect mix of ambient and blues.
The third track, “Mirror on the Ceiling”, features fluttering riffs and a series of vocals that are reminiscent of Bill Wither’s 1971 song, “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
Among all the tracks on the album, the fourth song, “Feel” really stood out to me. This track has a different style compared to the other songs. While it remains rooted in blues, it takes more of a psychedelic-blues approach, featuring the addition of the trumpet played by Josh Rollin. Additionally, this track shows off Buono’s falsetto and the capability of his vocal range. “Feel” is evident of the band exploring new sounds and getting more experimental with their music.
Another track that blew me away was “No No No”. This song shows Cavaliere’s versatility by starting out with a slow, smooth guitar riff and progressing into a powerful solo that is one of the most memorable parts of the album.
If you’re interested in the underground sounds of the Philly music scene, I highly recommend giving The Fifth Side a listen. They ’ll certainly leave you craving more (I’m sorry, I had to throw in this pun at least once).