(since I’m now getting back into the swing of writing again, I reviewed the new Tribes album for Faded Glamour. I can only apologise for coming across as a massive bitch, but after writing I realise the band are re-releasing ‘We Were Children’, a grand total of 6 months after the first release. Disappointed is not the word …)
As long ago as it seems, it was this time last year that I was tipping Tribes to be the next big things. It seems that my predictions were wholly accurate, with every man and his dog frothing at the mouth at the release of their debut ‘Baby’ (count the recent double page spread in The Sun among all this hoo-hah). This collection of faux-grunge, hipster anthems, however, leaves a slightly bitter taste.
There are the obvious stand out tracks, such as the wickedly anthemic ‘We Were Children’ with its insanely catchy refrain of “These things happen, we were children in the mid-nineties”, latching suitably onto the seasons trend for all things grunge. Another highlight is ‘Sappho’, almost an ode to lesbian love everyone (“How do you tell a son that his daddy left his mum when she fell in love with a girl like you?”).
Other than that, ‘Baby’ is a collection of vaguely repetitive and somewhat mediocre tracks. With songs so similar that they flow into one another perfectly, it’s hard to listen to this as an album, the whole thing sounds like the background music to an episode of ‘Skins’ or some other similarly distressing alternative TV show. This may be doing them a disservice, but the more you listen, the more of a turn-off this entire album is.
This may be doing a slight disservice to Tribes though. What is here is a solid attempt at reviving guitar music (did you hear it’s apparently dead?), and of course that’s the reason that most of the music press are going to scream for this album. While it is fairly repetitive, it’s hard to deny that the band have an ear for a tune. ‘Corner Of An English Field’ is yet another of those swooning and gently melodic tunes yet it manages to stand out completely from the album.
‘Baby’ is a valiant attempt for a debut album. Tribes have played the game well with tours set in fans gardens and tabloid rumours, coupled with Topshop’s current range of “grunge chic” and its easy to see them fast becoming a fad. Come festival season they’ll be the band on everyone’s lips, as we’ll all be chanting ‘We Were Children’ all over again. With a stronger debut though, they could have easily followed The Vaccines atmospheric rise.