Recommended Albums #34


Tribes: Baby (2012)

Odd that England’s New Music Express called Tribes “Britain’s best American band”. They sound peculiarly British to me. Of course, so did The Redwalls, and they are from Chicago. I think it just might be that influences skip across the pond more liberally in both directions than ever before.

2012 was a downright depressing year for rock: the biggest newsmakers in the genre were names like The Beach Boys (50th anniversary tour), the Rolling Stones (also celebrating 50) and Springsteen (who may as well be). New rock took a back seat to Classic rock, and both were overshadowed by dance music and indie pop. That thud we all heard was the sound of a genre hitting (rock) bottom.

Maybe new rock bands aren’t ambitious enough. So seldom do you hear one even attempt to craft a polished, accessible, well-produced record–you know, the kind with audible lyrics and everything. And maybe Tribes won’t be the band to turn it all around. But at least they seem to go for it. They seem to be trying to make that great record that can be embraced by millions.

And we need it. A generation have grown up without knowing what it’s like to buy a new classic rock record. I don’t mean “classic rock” as in Steve Miller Band. I mean a rock record that is a classic. As much as I like to see a youngster wearing a Pink Floyd or Beatles T-shirt, isn’t it time a next wave of great rock bands stepped forward and made their presence felt on the charts alongside Taylor Swift and Rihanna?

The anthemic chorus of “We Are Children” is something I could hear a full arena chanting along with. “Corner of an English Field” may bring to mind Oasis in their better moments. And while “Himalaya” might not grab you at first listen, it’s a grower with a Zeppelinesque heaviness.

Tribes don’t sound like a flash in the pan to me. I’ll be interested to see where their ambition takes them next time out. And hoping they enjoy a bright future both in England where they seem to be loved, and in America where the critics have so far been less impressed.

Listen to: “We Were Children”


Listen to: “Corner of an English Field”


Listen to: “Himalaya”

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