Friday, 24 February 2012

REVIEW: Tribes - Baby

The debut album from Tribes is a pretty impressive collection of songs that blend their shiny tuneful influences with a tougher, raw element that provides a gritty edge to the sunny melodies. The opening 'Whatever' is an undoubted highlight, packing many addictive thrills and suggesting that Tribes may share some musical DNA with 90s Brit heroes the Longpigs as well as bearing shades of the Pixies. The group may be influenced my American grunge but they have clearly learned from a wide variety of British artists as well. This is evident on the glam nostalgia of 'We Were Children' with its air punching chorus declaring how they "were children in the mid 90s" immediately reviving memories of the glorious Britpop years, and also recalling the sweaty glamour of early Suede. 

But it doesn't stop at the 90s, as the charmingly introspective 'Corner Of An English Field' displays how Tribes have also learned from the guitar bands of the 2000s, with a bridge that is pure Killers and vocals that come across like a grittier Razorlight.  Meanwhile on 'Half Way Home' a simple spot of guitar picking sets up the foundation for a great verse which soon gives way to a blissful lyricless chorus that builds into a Pulp-esque burst of confident indie pop brilliance. The American influences are most evident on 'Sappho', a stab at grunge pop which despite its fat muddy riff disappointingly ends up sounding like Razorlight covering the Fountains Of Wayne. 'Himalaya' is a welcome change in nature and tempo, a slow moving and slow burning album highlight with a verse recalling Arctic Monkeys at their most tender and a mighty burst of a chorus that brings to mind the Flaming Lips. 

'Nightdiving' has some lovely chiming guitars, raw emotion in the vocals and a most promising verse but it's soon marred by a chorus that lacks any real impact. Meanwhile 'When My Day Comes' is Libertines-esque rock n roll, perhaps not the most original set of musical ideas but great fun which also brings a great chorus and 'Walking In The Street' has shades of New Order, The Cure, the Smashing Pumpkins and again, the Pixies but the quality of the song pales in comparison to its influences. 'Alone Or With My Friends' is a bit like what would have happened if Blur's 'Tender' was written by Embrace instead while the closing highlight 'Bad Apple' is probably the most Britpop influenced moment here, coming across a little bit like 'Dear Prudence' being rewritten by Pulp or perhaps the Longpigs. 

Tribes can produce some catchy and impressive moments, but their sound is ultimately a mixture of many other bands and as a result 'Baby' is hardly the most original record you're going to hear this year. However if you like singalong choruses, loud guitars and catchy indie tunes then this album may well be worth purchasing. 7.5

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