Tribes - Baby - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Tribes - Baby

by Lawrence Poole Rating:7.5 Release Date:2012-01-16

They've been a regular entry into the in-tray of any self-respecting muso who pertains to have his finger on the pulse of 'ones to watch' for around 12 months now, but are Camdenites Tribes the real deal or will their long-awaited album, now it's finally landed, drive any future Tribes fan club members away in droves?
January of course, is the month of new beginnings, you only have to look at the (long overdue) career injection The Maccabees have received following the release of their third LP, Given to the Wild.

So as the (as they've been hailed in some quarters) 'next great London act', Tribes appear to have timed their emergence perfectly. I mean, lord knows the London indie rock music scene needs something. With Pete Doherty seemingly further than ever from the model of rock 'n' roll pied piper than ever before and a myriad contemporaries (Razorlight, Hard-Fi et al) missing in action, the dwindling scene in the capital, deluged into a plethora of dupstep pastiches, is theirs for the taking.

Frontman Johnny Lloyd certainly talks the talk, quoted as saying "There's no point being in a band unless you're going to be one of those life-changing bands". Stirring stuff, so are they? Well, not yet anyway, but the potential is certainly there - perhaps that's why they called their debut Baby. Blending frenzied Pixies distortion, early U2 and Nirvana's slashed guitars in their Nevermind pomp with the vigour and youthful exuberance of the Libertines circa 2003, there's definitely something there.

Opener 'Whenever' gets things off to a flyer, channelling Frank Black and spitting out of the stereo like a stone-cold encore-in-the-making. Recent single 'We Were Children' continues things in a similar vein, with the four-piece rising and falling in melodic crescendos, while 'Halfway Home' shows a welcome tender side and the ode to nocturnal shenanigans with a girl called 'Sappho' sparkles with charm and hook-laden licks.

Sadly, the record proves to be a bit of a game of two halves, with the freshness and speckles of originality replaced in places with retro cliches elsewhere on tracks like 'Himalaya', 'Nightdriving' and the aptly-named 'Bad Apple'. Thankfully, Tribes throw on a couple of maverick late subs in the form of 'When My Day Comes' and 'Walking in the Street' to rescue matters somewhat.

Recorded in six weeks in Liverpool with Mike Crossey, the intensity and passion felt and shown is clear for all to see - it will be interesting to see exactly now what this Baby grows up to be. The signs are it has a bright future ahead of it.

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