Tribes – Sappho (Island Records)
August 28, 2011 by Joe Turner
One year after they rose from the ashes of multiple Camden scene bands and Tribes have already been compared to the likes of the Pixies, Pavement, R.E.M and T.Rex. Now, they are hotly tipped to fill the gap left by genre champions The Strokes and Oasis and with their latest single; Sappho, and you can see why.
Delving deep into the history books for inspiration Sappho is based on a Greek lesbian with a reputation for frolicking with fellow islanders and her modern day counterpart is just as heartbreaking. The scuzzy opening power chords instantly set the tone for the track with singer Johnny Lloyd’s typically silky smooth vocals taking a detour into Lou Reed whisper-rock territory for the chorus.
Just when you think the track has no more to give the chorus comes in louder and harder with a real to-the-jaw haymaker delivery. Here lies Tribes’ key to success. This band have a nack for transforming every song they pen into an anthem in its own right. The epic song structures are flawlessly constructed, everything from the subtle female backing vocal down to the fuzzy guitar trail and screeching conclusion is precisely measured and perfectly implemented.
Despite the layers of polish Tribes still manage to capture a sense of raw excitement and energy. You would have to travel to Cedar Point, Ohio, to find a Roller Coaster more tumultuous than Sappho but the ups and downs are not for nothing, as this angsty song tells a dramatic tale of lovelorn abandonment.
This is tenable indie rock and your new favourite song. At least until the full-length album hits the shelves.