January 26, 2012

REVIEW: Tribes – Baby [LP]

By Chris Gedos


A lot of great things have already been said about Tribes’ Baby, which was released digitally and in the UK on January 16th. Here’s another English band that’s easily mistaken as American. Globalization has erased many of the boundaries in our arts, to the point where a band doesn’t immediately disclose themselves as English (Joy Division), Irish (U2), or American (REM) as they did 30 years ago. Tribes’ most autochthonous moment, “Corner of an English Field”, is no “Village Green Preservation Society” in terms of a prototypical homage to the English pastoral. Bands claim a greater allegiance to genres these days, as is the case with WU LYF (Heavy Pop), Holwer (Garage Rock) or Tribes (Power Pop). But Tribes is so fully rooted in the power pop tradition; this is the true flag to which they pledge allegiance. They know to always go big in the chorus, and they know how to keep a listener on their feet with shifting dynamics. While Holwer practices more of a ‘kitchen sink’ approach on America Give Up (with solid success), Tribes opts for a very specific language and employs an economy of sounds (gimmicks, if you must) within that language. As a result, Baby sounds like the direct result of several decades of combined musical experiences. On “Himalaya” and “Night Driving”, ditties which other bands may chicken out and play too soft, Tribes retains their raw energy and ‘fuck off’ ethos throughout. The Londoners have truly hit it out of the park with Baby. If they hadn’t already released “We Were Children” and “Sappho”, even more pundits would be comparing Baby to The Blue Album. Better poised than The Vaccines to make a US splash, they’ve set the bar awfully for the first half of 2012.

Tribes – When My Day Comes

Tribes – Half Way Home

Tribes: england (Official)

Rating 8.9


Reviewed by