THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2011|
Posted by: Joe Puglisi
With such fervent longing for the ennui rock of the mid '90s, combined with the ironic disillusionment of our current pop landscape and its plethora of Ke$ha type sing-song slop, it's surprising no one sounding suspiciously like Blur has yet taken up the mantle of arena rock. The Jack White empire of dirty guitars and bad-ass attitude seems to be the flavor of the moment, with insufferable cool like the Black Keys presenting the only competition to soft-rock's early aught champions (Coldplay), and indie rockers who remain true to themselves and inexplicably become super-famous despite the odds (Arcade Fire). It's even more surprising that the current best candidate casually drops the phrase "mid '90s" in their most popular song, but Tribes captures a feeling that many twenty-somethings will still pay to see, and for the first time in a long time, it's something new and interesting.
Whether or not Tribes can muster an entire LP of this caliber remains to be seen. But the band's introductory EP is a pretty damn decent start. "We Were Children" is positively giddy, despite its defeatist preoccupations. It subtly plays on the iconic opening riff of "Where Is My Mind" for extra oomph, but owns the melodic progression in a way that the a-melodic Pixies vocals didn't exactly embrace. "Girlfriend" is an update on Weezer's self-deprecating tendencies, accounting for that generation's development of adult self-esteem. "Coming Of Age" is the the right combination of grown-up angst and power-chords to chant along with in a giant arena. And the acoustic demo of "We Were Children" confirms the song can convert into an amateur bedroom sing-along, because let's face it, the more ubiquitously simple a catchy tune is, the more easily it spreads like wildfire.
There you have it, four decent reasons to keep an eye on Tribes. If we're lucky, the band will break the real rock n' roll draught on pop radio. If not, fingers crossed that they deliver an LP as full of singable power-rock as this tightly constructed EP. The only thing missing from this collection is the chanting crowds.