Tribes shot to fame by creating a name for themself the old fashioned way by gigging around Camden. In fact it was practically impossible to find any indication they even existed on the internet in the early days, such behaviour is practically unheard of within this technological age we now live in. Despite their non-existence within the world wide web Tribes’ first album Baby was received well and gained them the accreditation of the next big grunge band (a title they have subsequently refuted).
Every band begins the daunting task of writing album number two with trepidation. Instead of recording in backstreets of London, Tribes took to the states to record in LA in Sound City Studio, the so-called holy ground of recording studios as the likes of Nirvana’s Nevermind and Fleetwood Mac Rumours were recorded there. There is a definite American influence upon this second album. Whilst Baby has a distinctly raw British feel to it Wish To Scream appears slightly more polished. As clichéd as this is Tribes have also matured in their sound. There is nothing like the raucous and distinctly teenage track ‘When My Day Comes’ on this second album. Instead Tribes make use of the tools available to them, deciding to include gospel choirs, pianos and saxophones, an entirely different musical texture to that of their debut, that offers brief glimpses of the edgier sounding first album.
Stand out tracks on the album include ‘How the Other Half Live’ and ‘Wrapped up in a Carpet’. Both tracks demonstrate how Tribes have wholeheartedly immersed themselves into American culture. Whilst this creates an exploration of new musical textures I hate to say it but I miss the edginess of the first album. In a way it had more soul. The whole album feels like a lazy afternoon in the hazy American outback. Pleasant as this is, I find myself at times yearning for the dirty sounds of rain, tea and scones.
A distinctive feature of this album is Tribes’ ability to recreate the sounds of the sixties. This doesn’t feel forced or in anyway chemically created but instead appears like a natural reaction. There is nothing worse than a band that tries to create a forced ‘vintage’ sound in a desperate attempt to earn credibility as being ‘ones to watch’.
Unfortunately Wish to Scream has not injected me with excitement. I’m struggling to find a track on the album that will be the track crowds hanker for at gigs. This surprises me, as Tribes are a band that constantly tour. They made a name for themselves through gigging everywhere and anywhere so it seems odd that there doesn’t seem to be that one standout rip-roaring track on the album. Wish to Scream is surprisingly mellow. There is definitely no danger of anyone describing Tribes as a grunge band anymore as there is nothing that remotely resembles grunge on this album at all. Instead Tribes have attempted to marry together the best of British and America. Have they been successful? In places yes. They have moved on from the angsty feel of the first album to softer, greener pastures. I just hope they haven’t lost some of their energy along the way.
You can get your hands on a copy of ‘Wish To Scream’ on 20 May 2013. Tribes are currently on tour. You can get tickets here.