Camden heroes TRIBES today release their highly anticipated first album in 10 years, ‘Rabbit Head’ – via Downtown Music – and release music video for track ‘Boy’.
TRIBES, comprised of singer/guitarist Johnny Lloyd, guitarist Dan White, bassist Jim Cratchley and drummer Miguel Demelo, are back with their boldest record yet. Rabbit Head captures both how TRIBES got here and where they’re heading next. It’s an album where TRIBES sound more assured than they ever have, a band totally in tune with themselves.
Commenting on the release of Rabbit Head, the band said: “Written and recorded in an old cottage in the woods on an army rage in deepest darkest Dorset, amidst heavy gunfire, thunder & lightning, strange UFO sightings, psychedelic voyages, spirit animals, crashing waves, fire, ale, rolling tobacco, liquorice rizlas, distortion pedals, rattling windows, late night sessions, power cuts, ghosts, mud, bugs, massive bats and a global pandemic, Rabbit Head is the coming together of friendships lost and rekindled. TRIBES is our band and it’s your band. And this record is TRIBES at its very core. No guarantees. All in. Dan produced it. Artwork by Fee Greening. Turn it up. See you at the gig.”
Opening with the crunching rocker ‘Hard Pill’, the track marks a showstopping return for the band and is placed first as it was the first track written by White since the band split. The euphoric ‘It’s All Borrowed’ follows, seeing Lloyd screech chorus chants, forming an instant festival banger. ‘Catwalk’ is littered with summer grooves and is followed by the retrospective toxic masculinity-exploring ‘Dad, I’m Not A Tough Guy’. ‘Earthling’ and ‘Ways To Improve Your New Life’ take similar turns – a pair of calmer jams showing the true versatility of the band’s sound, complemented by that signature TRIBES vibe. The gears are turned up with the garage rock-inspired ‘Medicine’, encapsulating what Rabbit Head is all about – four guys, in the country, running riot. The album mellows again into the crowd-chanting ‘Grandad’s On The Beer’, paired perfectly with the rhythm section-driven ‘Celebrate’. ‘-ism’ incorporates crunch and glam-rock sounding tones before the bass-driven, desert-feel to ‘Boy’. The grungy ‘Dressing Gown’ flirts with distorted stadium rock before the moody, spacey penultimate track, ‘Fade To Credits’. Rabbit Head finishes with ‘Message From The Sponsor’ – an intimate acoustic story that sees out the 14-track return perfectly. They might have taken the long way round but the album feels like the one TRIBES were always destined to make. They are a band revitalised.
Alongside the album release, the Camden group have unveiled a music video for ‘Boy’ – a dark, seventies-feel reel accompanied by spoken-word storytelling from Dan White. Commenting on the music video for ‘Boy’, White said: “Boy was never meant to go on the record. It was an unwelcome curiosity that kept tapping on the window. Impossible to ignore. Eventually we had to let it in before it got angry and did damage. It’s most likely contagious.”
The quartet announced their return in March this year after an indefinite hiatus following extensive touring of sophomore album ‘Wish To Scream’ in 2013 and indie favourite ‘Baby’ in 2012. Following a choice encounter between the four at a Dinosaur Pile-Up – Cratchly’s band since TRIBES – show in 2020, they were reminded of what they had lost and are now back, bigger and better than ever!
After this, and with the ten-year anniversary of ‘Baby’ – their moment capturing debut album – approaching, it was Lloyd who suggested they should do a reunion show in aid of the Choose Love charity. Originally scheduled for December 2020 at London’s Lafayette, it was pushed back due to Covid and upscaled to the Forum due to demand. It was an evening that made the band realise their fans were still there, hankering for a return. Lloyd reflects: “It sold out in 10 seconds! The crowd sounded like a football match, the whole place was on their feet, a huge amount of love was coming over and the passion of the crowd was so alarming.”
It was during lockdown that TRIBES realised they didn’t just want to look back, that there could be a future in a return as well as a celebration of the past. White relocated from London to a cottage round the corner from Lloyd in Dorset and the two got to work on what would become TRIBES’ third album.
“We went from not speaking to each other for eight years to living next door to each other in the middle of nowhere!” laughs White, who has handled production duties on the new record. “As the producer, I really want to understand what this means to everyone. What is the core of this band? This new chapter is about trying to capture that and use that to navigate this thing rather than ego or anything like that.” “Dan producing has been really important, it’s let us work it out as a band without another person behind there. We got into the core of what we were doing way more and Dan guided the ship.” says Lloyd. Working more as a songwriting partnership than previously, a new route emerged, one that melded both the band’s way with an epic hook and more intricate melodic interplay.
Lyrically, ‘Rabbit Head’ finds TRIBES older and a little more reflective than their younger selves. “There’s a lot more sincerity to the lyrics,” says Lloyd. “It’s a bit more open emotionally, subjects I wouldn’t have encroached upon in my early twenties, a bit more honesty.”
‘Rabbit Head’ is an album where TRIBES sound more assured than they ever have, a band totally in tune with themselves. Johnny Lloyd, Dan White, Jim Cratchley and Miguel Demelo have learned that you can give yourself a second chance. TRIBES are back in business.
‘RABBIT HEAD’ ALBUM TRACKLIST
It’s All Borrowed
Dad I’m Not A Tough Guy
Ways To Improve Your New Life
Grandad’s On The Beer
Fade To Credits
Message From The Sponsor
TRIBES UK IN-STORE AUGUST TOUR DATES 2023
7 Aug – Yes, Manchester
8 Aug – Record Junkee, Sheffield
11 Aug – Slice of Vinyl, Gosport
Sat 12 Aug – Hey Joe, Brentwood
Sun 13 Aug – Beyond Vinyl, Newcastle
Mon 14 Aug – Jacaranda, Liverpool
Wed 16 Aug – Soundclash, Norwich
Thurs 17 Aug – Banquet (Pryzm), Kingston-Upon-Thames
Fri 18 Aug – Vinyl Whistle, Leeds
Fri 18 Aug – Forty Five Vinyl Café, York
Sat 19 Aug – Rough Trade, Bristol
Sun 20 Aug – Truck, Oxford
Mon 21 Aug – Rough Trade West, London
Tues 22 Aug – Vinilo, Southampton
Wed 23 Aug – Resident, Brighton