The current trend in ‘Indie’ music is to write songs that sound like they’ve stepped out of a Delorean from the 80’s. Knowing this (expecting it, even) makes the opening of Tribes’ debut rather surprising, as they draw influence from bands of the following decade like Nirvana and Pixies rather than Huey Lewis and Steve Winwood. The first musical thing you hear is a guitar that sounds like it’s being picked by Kurt Cobain.
The thick guitar sound is a theme that carries through the whole album. Which is another way of saying this is a proper guitar band making a proper ‘guitar band’ album. ‘Whenever’ is a great song to kick off with and one which I imagine is superb live. Sadly I’ve never been able to see them but by all accounts that’s the best place to hear their songs.
‘We Were Children’ and ‘When My Day Comes’ have a very American feel to them… Think Ok Go and We Are Scientists. That said, the album is very English. At times it has a Mancunian sound to it, though thankfully never becoming too Oasis.
I’d heard ‘Sappho’ and ‘Himalaya’ ahead of the album and was looking forward to it on account of them. They probably showcase the two sides of the album quite nicely. The loud, in-your-face sound of most of the songs and the occasional calmer moments where the bass makes more of an impression.
Lyrically the album doesn’t do an awful lot for me. It’s not something I particularly care about (people who know me can attest to that!) but there are moments where they were weak enough to annoy me a little. “If nothing stays ever the same / why should we worry about acting our age?” isn’t great. I should stress it’s only a little annoying though, and definitely not all the time.
It’s an album that will find a place in the hearts of many a teenage band, who will think ‘we can do that’ and then realise actually they really can’t. This accessibility is one of it’s strongest points. The fact it’s a good listen, punchy and makes you want to see them live are all solid pluses too.
File next to: Mystery Jets, Ok Go, Pixies
Listen to: Nightdriving [Buy the album]