Imagine you’re at a beach party in Key West. The sun rises high over the small island, and there are no clouds to be found. Hundreds of tourists and local islanders flock the sandy shores. Children build sandcastles and adults relax under umbrellas. Perhaps a tourist is eating a famous Key Lime Pie, or a group of college-aged friends are relaxing with a round of drinks. For once, there are no worries whatsoever. No stress. Just a lot of fun on a warm and sunny Floridian beach.
If you can picture that, then you already have a clear idea of what Tidal Host’s debut EP, “Verses” sounds like. Tidal Host is an electronic music duo from Tampa, FL. According to the project’s producers, Tony Pizzo and Casey Deiter, both aim to “blend electronics with the human feel of organic sounds. Hit that play button to put some unexpected feel good audio bits right into your ear zones.” As for that latter humorous statement, it explains perfectly what this debut sounds like. The music is fun, quirky, playful, and an unexpectedly delightful listen. At the same time, the modern production is forward-thinking and inventive. If you’re looking for funky, glitchy EDM with a pop sensibility that’s perfect for summer, then you’ve come to the right place.
In one sense, Tidal Host are sonic comedians. Aphex Twin will always be the prankster of electronic music, but far too often, he can be irritating for critics and the mainstream music industry. You just never know whether he’s telling the truth or a lie. But here, you never have to guess if Tidal Host is telling a joke. Quirky comedy is simply part of the duo’s DNA. Read the title of the opening track: “Just Stackin’ Up Little Cups Just As Fast As We Can, Johnny!” Come on. That’s absolutely hilarious. Just don’t let the title fool you, as panned synths, funky guitar licks, smooth basslines, and a unique combination of glitchy electronic percussion with live drumming kick off this adventure. The track also takes an interesting turn around the 4:30 mark. Without giving away what changes, let’s just say the adrenaline increases and your head bobbles uncontrollably. Not to mention, the melodies are just too catchy.
“The Curve” is my personal favorite track of the entire EP. Half-time drums, fluttering synths, and a distorted guitar/bass play throughout while a spoken word poem weaves its way in and out of the mix. The curve is certainly “not just a curve”, as vaporwave-like synths build the chill atmosphere of the tune halfway through. It’s a nice interlude, although I wish it could be longer than 2:34! I’d easily listen to five minutes worth of it. “Beresford” is a bluesy-style tune with funky guitar riffs punctuating over funky vocoded vocals and 808-style drums. Gliding synths layer throughout the latter half of the track, and a screaming guitar solo ends the composition out. Though not as strong as the rest of the album, the electronic blues slow-burner nicely complements the craziness of the EP. The finale, “Dad Funk”, is undoubtedly the most feel-good track of the entire EP. Chopped piano samples, arpeggiated synths, and funky basslines back the distorted vocals and wobbling guitars throughout. If Daft Punk produced a glitch hop tune, this is probably what it would sound like. The tune nicely concludes with a sample of some obscure lounge jazz tune from the 80s or 90s. Perhaps it’s the kind of Muzak your parents listened to while walking through a K-Mart (bonus points if you know what I’m referring to).
Tidal Host’s “Verses” is a solid debut from a promising electronic music act. While I’ve attempted my best at describing what this EP sounds like, it fails in comparison to the experience of listening to the music itself. From a production standpoint, it’s as clean as any Top 40 track, yet the distortions and glitches throughout keep things interesting for the listener. Compositionally, every single track is catchy and memorable. You will not be able to keep your foot from tapping. It’s simply impossible. This is fun music that’s filled with colorful ear candy for the listener. Sonically humorous, yet seriously entertaining. If I were to choose any EP that best fits the vibes of summer, this is right at the top of the list. If there are any labels reading this, I urge you: PLEASE sign these guys to your label. Your listeners will thank you.
Artist: Tidal Host
This album is available to download at http://tidalhost.bandcamp.com/album/verses (or at the Bandcamp embed earlier in the review, which will lead you there). It’s name-your-price, but if you can, seriously gather some money together and donate to this project. You’ll understand what I mean when you listen to it. It’s that insanely good.