TRIBES – Baby (Island)

If there is one album that I have really been looking forward to it is this one. Since hearing their ‘When My Day Comes’ and ‘We Were Children’ EPs last year I quickly realised that this was a band that could go far. They are indie but they are also rock, they write songs with real tunes and make a sound that is the epitome of what you think an indie band should sound like. In short, they are my tip for the top in 2012. This album more than lives up to the promise of the EPs, and it is also a good sign that they have only felt the need to include the title tracks from the EPs on the album – and ‘We Were Children’ is a particular favourite so no complaints there. OK, they might be in thrall to 90’s Britpop, with nods to Blur and Suede along the way, but they do it with panache, and I like it. ‘Whenever’ opens with a rowdy indie rocker, leading quickly into ‘We Were Children’, complete with its quirky reversal of normal song structure by having a loud verse and quietening down for the chorus. ‘Corner Of An English Field’ offers a bit of breathing space, although its slower pace does pick up for the choruses, while ‘Half Way Home’ starts as an acoustic ballad before the band kick in for the finale. ‘Himalaya is a moody piece of guitar rock, with impassioned vocals and a great effects-laden guitar solo, and ‘Nightdriving’ is another slowie featuring a slightly contentious lyric, making ‘When My Day Comes’ sound even more raucous when it follows. By now you know what to expect, so when ‘Walking In The Street’ starts off all slow and moody, you know that the band are going to use their pent up energy for the chorus. ‘Alone Or With Friends’ slows the pace, and mostly substitutes the electric instruments with acoustic, although they keep the electric guitar on hand for a refined solo, leaving ‘Bad Apple’ to close the album on a downbeat ballad. Apart from preferring them to have closed with one of their more upbeat songs, this is pretty much what I hoped this debut would sound like, and I am pleased to hear that the promise of those EPs has been fulfilled.
We Were Children