Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Flynndie Reviews - Blog #27: Tribes - Baby

Written 4th July 2012

Tribes - Baby

The Band: Johnny Lloyd (lead vocals/guitar), Dan White (guitar/backing vocals), Jim Cratchely (bass), Miguel Demelo (drums)

Today’s review sees me somewhat gate-crashing the party late, but after a kind recommendation on Twitter I’ve finally come across the 4-piece Camden-formed band Tribes, whom cite bands such as The Pixies, Nirvana, R.E.M. and Pavement amongst their influences, so today’s review covers their debut album ‘Baby’. So with the formal introductions done, let’s get straight into this one and see what the album sounds like:


1. Whenever
2. We Were Children
3. Corner of an English Field
4. Halfway Home
5. Sappho
6. Himalaya
7. Nightdriving
8. When My Day Comes
9. Walking in the Streets
10. Alone or With Friends
11. Bad Apple

Opening with a somewhat quirky yet enjoyable guitar riff, opening track ‘Whenever’ gets the album underway and it’s a decent, catchy, sing-a-long track that sets the tone of the album nicely. Johnny’s vocals are textbook for the style of Indie-Rock sound the band captures on this album, while this first track features the chorus “I don’t know how you dream up all the things that you say/Never died in an airoplane, while spiraling away” being nothing else but simple yet incredibly catchy lyrics, you can’t help but get caught up in it. ‘We Were Children’ follows up next and is somewhat more of a power track which really helps define the big rock ‘n’ roll sound the band capture on this album. The verses features powerful vocals from Johnny, flirting guitars and bass from Dan and Jim respectively and thunderous drumming from Miguel, before reaching the chorus of the track, which sees Johnny’s vocals more softly sung and the catchy hook “Oh no stranger, you’re just like me”. The overall sound of the track reminds me somewhat of The Pixies, which is always a good thing, and it brought a little smile to my face when I discovered the band had already supported them on tour in the past.

‘Corner of an English Field’ continues and is a bit more of slowed-down affair on the album, featuring an acoustic guitar layered with an electric guitar riff over the top of it during the verses with powerful vocals from Johnny before another big sing-a-along chorus “In the corner of an English field/With the Devil trying to cut a deal” comes in mid-song. 4th track ‘Halfway Home’ sees the band’s attempt of a somewhat more softer ballad track on the album, with a nice gentle, electric guitar riff flowing through it as the lyrics paint out the troubled relationship of a couple backed with gentle “Oooooh’s” before the track picks up in tempo for its final thrid and the song’s protagonist’s reveals that he is actually comfortable with the couple’s relationship the way it stands after all. Previous single ‘Sappho’ follows and with its opening guitar riff it surprisingly reminds a bit of early-era Blur, which again is another good thing by me. This is actually a really decent track, with a great bridge in it and lyrics portraying the carefree, lifestyle of a girl called ‘Sappho’. ‘Himalaya’ is a slow-burner of a track, driven by percussion and gently layered electric guitar again, before another big power chorus, featuring guitar solos and even more “Oooooh’s”, this track is in every sense a big rock ballad on the album.

Up next is possibly my favourite track on the album ‘Nightdriving’, which is again another slow-burning affair but features a nice and excellent guitar riff, through the heart of it, before we feature another massive chorus from the band in true rock fashion before interestingly the track closes with what sounds like radio-spoken samples, which actually gives the track a bit of nice twist and originality to it. Opening with a much more upbeat drum rhythm and guitars ‘When My Day Comes’ is a lot more lively track in the 2nd half of the album and shows a real injection of energy on the album. It’s a really fun, enjoyable romp of a track which the band really nails well here. ‘Walking in the Street’ starts with echoing drums and then features a low-fi guitar riff initially just teasing along, and this really reminds of the type of sound R.E.M. used to occasionally create in their earlier days. It’s a simple, easy going track and sits nicely in its place on the album. ‘Alone with Friends’ opens with acoustic guitar and ‘distant’ vocals from Johnny, and continues to build in layers as it steadily flows along. It’s a slow-winding, hazy track reminding me a bit of Travis from their ‘The Man Who’ days or even ‘Tender’ by Blur. It’s a nice track, that I could easily picture going down well at a festival, as a red sunset draws a long day to a close. The album closes with final track ‘Bad Apple’ and this again another more slowed down track on the album, featuring nice guitars and high-pitched vocals from Johnny, to bring the album to steady close.

So overall I’ve been enjoying this debut album from Tribes over the few listens I have given the album so far. The band does have somewhat of a textbook Indie-rock sound about them but on the tracks on this album that they apply that to, they do very well indeed and you can see how some of the bands that they cite as influences have helped shape the band’s style and sound with this record. I think with some of their songs, they aim to write some big sing-a-long anthems which they certainly achieve, while other tracks aim to provoke the listener’s thoughts and they seem to reach a nice balance of the two. It will be interesting to see how the band approaches their second album, but in the meantime, this is an album I would have no problems making a recommendation to check out as it is very much an enjoyable record and am going to give it a strong 7 Babies out of 10 and mark the Tribes down as a band to currently watch closely in the future.

Keeping Tribal

Track 2 ‘We Were Children’

Track 3 ‘Corner of an English Field’

Track 5 ‘Sappho’

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