A full decade since their last album release, Camden heroes TRIBES have announced their third album Rabbit Head, out 18th August – via Downtown Music. Following a show-stopping return in single Hard Pill which Steve Lamacq debuted on BBC6 Music last month, and a sold-out surprise show at Camden’s infamous Dublin Castle, they’re back with their boldest record yet.
It’s a record that captures both how TRIBES got here and where they’re heading next. They might have taken the long way round but Rabbit Head feels like the album TRIBES were always destined to make. They are a band revitalised. The album announcement comes just shy of TRIBES taking the stage this month, supporting DMAs at a string of UK shows, including Londons Wembley Arena on 21st April.
The Camden quartet, comprised of singer/guitarist Johnny Lloyd, guitarist Dan White, bassist Jim Cratchley and drummer Miguel Demelo, embarked on an indefinite hiatus following the release and extensive touring of sophomore album Wish To Scream in 2013. 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. “It was that feeling of, ‘fuck, these are the people I should be with”, remembers Lloyd.
Check out the video for Hard Pill below:
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 in North London’s Kentish Town 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 the quartet’s third album.
Tribes (William Kennedy)
“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. It opens with the crunching rocker Hard Pill, placed up top because it was the song that kick-started everything. “It was the first song I’d written since the band split up, it feels like the end and the start of the band at the same time, it’s about the rebuilding of relationships.”
Johnny Lloyd, Dan White, Jim Cratchley and Miguel Demelo have learned that you can give yourself a second chance. TRIBES are back in business.
Upcoming UK Tour Dates:
18th – Leeds, Key Club
19th – Glasgow, O2 Academy
20th – Manchester, O2 Apollo
21st – London, OVO Arena Wembley