The Districts by The Districts (EP)

13 February, 2014 in Music Reviews

The Districts

On their self-titled EP, US teen four-piece The District pay tribute to Mississippi legends of yore with some superb blues-rock

The Districts-Covermerican four-piece The Districts recently took their place on noted Mississippi label Fat Possum, which has housed the brilliant blues-rock duo The Black Keys. It’s a fitting home for the US teens, whose swampy brand of blues-rock nods to that of their illustrious labelmates, as well as one of the finest Mississippi bands of the ’90s.

On their self-titled EP, this kinship with The Black Keys is evident from the first moments of opener Rocking Chair, with the same crackling vocals as Dan Auerbach and the guitars as crunchy as a bowl of honeynut clusters. What’s quickly apparent though is that The Districts are no mere imitators. The vocals, for instance are a little more fragile and there’s a wistful outlook held within their musical bones, one that sees them drawing from the same blissed- out sentimentality that made the criminally underrated Mississippi act Blind Melon such a gorgeous listen. This affinity is seen in tracks like Lyla and the superb Funeral Beds, where The District evoke the same childlike sense of bittersweet candour as can be heard on Blind Melon’s self-titled debut.

Though it may be easy to accuse the four teens of lacking in a desire to be challenging, this is, after all, straight-up ’70s-inspired blues-rock, so to do so misses the point. This isn’t about throwing in as many unusual chord changes as they can, or nuanced influences that only the most bookish of hipsters would know; it’s about really fine songs.

It’s something that fans of the prodigious Irish band The Strypes will appreciate only too keenly. This makes The District a fitting riposte to the legion of turgid indie-rock acts who’ve forgotten that it means nothing to think you’re clever if your songs sound as dense as year-old milk.

Verdict: Fans of blues-rock will find much to enjoy here

Damien Girling