Tribes – Rabbit Head

'Rabbit Head' is a familiar return to the fold.

Label: Downtown Music
Released: 18th August 2023

Belatedly back with a new album after reforming in 2020 to celebrate the 10 years since their formation, Tribes go back to basics to remind themselves what people loved about them when they arrived at the end of the late 00s indie boom, with their raw and ready Myspace demos hinting at the next big thing.

The Americana experiments of ‘Wish to Scream’, which precipitated their split a decade ago, have largely been ditched in favour of revisiting the brash indie rock that we fell in love with on their early releases.

‘It’s All Borrowed’ harks back to their early Pixies-worship, stop-start guitars chugging out heavy, grungy riffs as Johnny Lloyd ruminates on getting older. ‘Catwalk’ keeps up the pace with a hooky chorus and another driving backbeat from Miguel Demelo. ‘Medicine’ is a ramshackle love letter to a group of friends “still chasing the sound”, even if tour might not bank you a penny. At this stage, that’s not really the point.

‘Celebrate’ laments the modern malaise of tech and TV with a clever assist from early Coldplay. The biggest left turns are ‘Boy’, a loping spoken word state-of-the-nation from Dan White and ‘Dressing Gown’ with its epic Led Zep-riffage, but largely ‘Rabbit Head’ is a familiar return to the fold.

While Tribes are unlikely to recapture the buzz of their first tours back in 2010, if you’re long in the tooth enough to fondly recall those early moments, you’ll find a lot to like here.

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