Tidal District cite inventive indie rock group dEUS as their major influence, an influence that's not so much reflected in their sound as it is their adventurous work ethic. The four tracks on Hold the Party Line, their third independently released EP, take a similar approach to music-making as their Belgian cousins. The first two tracks serve to emphasize the band's pop instincts: "Don't Tell the Fire Chief" lends the EP its title, and "Aces," the most obvious crossover track, charted earlier in 2007 as a stand-alone download single. Both tracks put to the forefront Tidal District's keen melodic core, the former showcasing singer Noel Duplaa's Glen Hansard-like tone and guitarist Gary Donald's Edge-like clipped guitar and the latter building from a whisper to a furious post-punk chorus which is equal parts cathartic and hypnotic, and always thrilling. The latter pairing, "No. 3 for the Lights" and "What the Thunder Said...," are a little more progressive, taking in more distinct sections and a wider variety of styles including jazz, noise, and octave-driven pop-punk. The latter is slightly disappointing, as the five-minute build-up ultimately peters out into a surprisingly unimaginative finish, but the overall effect is not badly diminished. Throughout the EP, the band display an impressive attention to detail. They are always mindful of using the volume dynamic to the greatest of effect and showing a keen awareness of sonic texture, particularly in the drum section and in the way the guitars interact, and it's an attribute which will serve them well in the formulation of a full-length release.
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