Ones To Watch -Tribes

Swaggering melodic fuzz rock
Tribes - Clash Magazine - Samuel John Butt
This time last year, the intense glare that hovers over the music scene like a frantic prison spotlight during a breakout shone shakily on Tribes, heralding them as the latest group of boys-with-guitars worth your attention. Aware of what pressures such early scrutiny can place upon a band, the four-piece have waited a whole year to ready their debut album, ‘Baby’, which is finally due this month.

“Hype can be a really dangerous and destructive thing,” notes guitarist Dan White. “We never took a shortcut, which I think a band can do sometimes. We sat back from that whole hype machine and kept our heads down, concentrated on our record and kept playing shows. We were in no rush to get anywhere fast. We were taking our time and making it sure we were doing it the right way.”

Gradually expanding their following further out of their Camden base, their live shows have proved the making of them, and ‘Baby’ harnesses the powerful crackling riffs of their first two EPs, but introduces an authentic rootsy edge to the band.

“We’ve been labeled things like grunge and all sorts of shit this year that we had to take some time and lose those tags,” singer Johnny Lloyd expounds. “There’s nothing remotely grungy about the album - it’s very British; we tried to stay away from being typecast. It’s exciting for us to see what happens when people see that different side of us - that more acoustic, softer, ballady side - which I think is our strength anyway.”

Recent trips to Europe, Japan and the States have consolidated Tribes’ dedication to patience - they are intent on playing club dates, working diligently to get closer to their audience. “The kids at our shows, they’re the ones who get really passionate about these kinda things, so it’s fascinating to talk to them afterwards about it,” Dan says. “That’s the real index, and that’s how you can see how well things are progressing, by the next generation.”

After a year of perseverance and composure, progress is good. Get ready for Tribes’ big pay-off in 2012.

Words by Simon Harper
Photo by Samuel John Butt


Where: Camden, London
What: Swaggering melodic fuzz rock
Get 3 songs: ‘Whenever’, ‘Sappho’, ‘Coming Of Age’
Unique Fact: The album was recorded live and all on analogue, to avoid any “de-humanizing shit”.


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