Tag Archives: tribes

Howler ‘America Give Up’ / Tribes ‘Baby’ – Reviews

3 Feb

America Give Up by Howler

Howler are nearly as desperate to be the new Strokes as Rough Trade (who flew half way around the globe to sign them after hearing a demo) and NME are for them to be the new Strokes. As The Flaming Lips once sang ‘It’s a good time for superman’ and right now, according to some, Howler are the best fit for that costume. Except they aren’t. ‘America Give Up’ is a fun album but it isn’t going to change anyone’s life – it simply isn’t good enough. Singer, Jordan Gatesmith, has a grating, nasal voice and it’s given far too much room in the mix. The songs are almost all decent but rarely anything more than that (although rarely anything less either). The production is shambolic but in a controlled way – organized chaos, etc. Still, ‘Back of Your Neck’, ‘Beach Sluts’ and ‘This One’s Different’ make this a worthy listen. In these moments the group’s buzzsaw energy makes for an infectious and likeable debut. Is this it? no it isn’t. America Give Up? Not quite yet. However – Howler will keep you happily distracted for half an hour, and that’s enough for the time being.


Baby by Tribes

Tribes first came to my attention nearly two years ago, when some seriously lo-fi, mostly acoustic, demos appeared online. I was very excited. These were emotive, powerful and dangerously catchy tunes. Last January, in the band’s first interview with the NME, they said they were desperate to sign to a major label. They craved success. They wanted to be stadium sized. Therefore, the first two tracks on this album are the very same songs that first grabbed me by the neck eighteen months ago, only they’ve been given a big budget, widescreen makeover. Sure, they aren’t as good as the original versions, but ambition is not something to be ridiculed, and the versions that appear on ‘Baby’ still sound brilliant, and now, spectacularly epic.

‘Whenever’ and ‘We Were Children’ are the songs in question, both odes to growing up, that hit the nail on the head in more than a few instances (‘If you forgave me I could sleep at night, knowing I’d lived a good life’ or ‘these things happen, we were children in the mid 90’s’), and here they introduce a remarkably solid run of songs that are as self-assured, hard rocking and anthemic as anything released over the past twelve months. This is how they made debuts in the decade referenced above.

The album can be divided into two halves; slow songs and fast songs, and there really isn’t much else in between. This means that ‘Baby’ is a slightly two-dimensional album – but then some of the greatest pleasures in life are two dimensional, so there is nothing wrong with that. Of the faster songs, the two recent singles ‘Sappho’ and ‘When My Day Comes’ shine brightest thanks to their hummable choruses and guitar hero theatrics. Of the slower songs, ‘Nightdriving’ (an emotional ode to a childhood friend who committed suicide) hits hardest, whilst ‘Corner of an English Field’ is a smile inducing homage to britpop. Best of all perhaps is ‘Himalaya’, a song that takes a fine stab at being a power ballad and just about pulls it off.

Things tail off slightly towards the end; ‘Alone or With Friends’ is a bit of a non-event, and ‘Bad Apple’, the weakest song on the album, makes for a bit of an anticlimactic ending. But front loaded or not, ‘Baby’ is a very impressive debut that by rights should (but almost certainly won’t – not your fault guys) send Tribes crashing into the big time. Ok, this is an old-fashioned record that occasionally plays it a bit too safe, and maybe it is as cliched as its title, but we need this band; see how they strut about on stage in ripped jeans and make up, see how the guitarist dates supermodels and Scarlet Johanson, see how they live every cliche and love it – they are traditional rock stars, and in 2011 there are very few of those about.


Tribes ‘We Were Children’

25 Apr

One of my favourite songs of last year has, rather unnecessarily, been re-recorded as some kind of larger than life rock song. Perhaps not uncoincidently, Tribes have now signed to Island records and are releasing their first major label ep – or there first ep on any label as far as I’m aware, pretty swish.   HERE is the info about the e.p.

10 For 2011 – #4. Tribes

30 Jan

It’s been sooooooooo long since we’ve had a great British Rock band emerge; I’m talking about a grungy, heavy, Rock band that aren’t afraid to knock out sleazy solos but equally aren’t afraid of melody and hooks. Tribes seem to fit that description. You’ll hear the best of the rest on this list proudly declare themselves to be ‘pop’ through and through, and that’s fine, but Tribes are here to send Rock back to the top of the charts.

The demos they put out last year, particularly ‘We Were Children’, are genuinely amazing and even though they were recorded by just one man and his electric guitar (on terrible equipment) you could tell that these songs were meant to be huge. The full band recently stopped by maida vale to do a session and I was pleased to see that the proper live versions are even more impressive than the demos. Last year they supported Mystery Jets on their UK tour, and they are looking for a label as we speak (apparently they want the biggest deal they can get) so if things carry on in this direction then Tribes will be having a very good year.


Tribes ‘We Were Children’

20 Oct

Have a listen to this great new song by Tribes called ‘We Were Children’