"III," the pre-released track from Ditch Tiger's forthcoming album Old Growth, begins with a quiet arpeggio of math rock guitar. It is a reminder that the song is constructed and not simply a burst of noise, as post-hardcore often seems to be. "III" is a lumbering, head-nodding beast. It crashes without losing its forward momentum, thereby avoiding what is often the defining problem of the genre.
Post-hardcore too often means post-structure, post-ideas and post-enjoyment. Ditch Tiger manages to walk the line between noisy and noise, however, and the band's songs preserve the robust frustration of hardcore without taking it out on the listener. Some of the tracks on the earlier demo succumb to the temptation to simply ride the cymbals and jerk the guitar, but for the most part Ditch Tiger's arrangements display the phrasal coordination that distinguishes the enthusiastic from the merely messy.
It sounds like it's trying something, in other words, within a genre that can ask for too little in the way of craft or vision. Ditch Tiger stands apart from the legion of post-hardcore bands that charge without knowing where they're going. This band is just as loud, but thankfully it is a little more smart.
Ditch Tiger plays the ZACC Sun., Aug. 4, at 7:30 PM, with Avair, Wild Moth, Boys, The All-Hail, Buddy Jackson and Posture. $5.