‘Rescuing you from whatever funk you’re in, it’s like you’ve been administered a huge dose of adrenaline.’
Intro to The Tribe of Good
Previously #FridayFinds playlisted in 2019 for their awesome singles ’25 Miles from Vegas’ and ‘Raise Your Head’ the effortlessly energetic, stunningly stylish sound of collective ‘The Tribe of Good’ is one that you rarely come across. Equally, with band members having worked with the likes of Kanye West, Katy Perry, Jamiroquai and Sigma, it’s no wonder that not just the mix of influences, but the incredible musicianship is so immediately obvious. Releasing their self-titled debut album on 14th August, its 12 tracks cover everything from sultry soul (Loving You Baby), modern Motown (Broken Toys) and passionate 80’s-driven power ballads (Unbreakable). However while every track delivers, every… single… time, ‘Siren Song’ really is the one that really rescues your soul whenever you’re in a ‘funk’.
Opening with a surprisingly subdued mix of warped fading synths and heavily compressed drums, it may appear as though this track, which sits at the mid-point of the album, will be more reserved than some of what has come before. Creeping almost tentatively into our ears, it certainly feels different to everything before it. But don’t be fooled by this. Not even for a second. Sure even when the sporadic horn stabs enter it feels like this will be more restrained, but once the truly kicking drums come in moments later, you know it’s going to be anything but. This is in fact to be one hell of an onslaught.
Signalling that the transformation is to occur at a rate of knots, the initially sparse sound suddenly bursts into a cacophony of interlocking motifs and full driving rhythms. Spaced out brass becomes filled with pitch bends and fall-offs. Previously non-existent bass lines become distorted and gritty. And electric guitar delivers syncopated funk of the highest order. As floor filling introductions go, this is quite possibly the best I’ve heard and with the arrival of the verse, it just gets better.
Having generated such an infectious atmosphere in the opening, it’s no surprise that this is only heightened as we hit the verse for the first time. Delivering as much full-throttle musicality as the underlying textures, these aforementioned elements get joined by thrusting, soulful vocals. Teetering on the edge of tripping-over, the incredible dexterity brings a heady mix of inferred acceleration and powerhouse passion while the lyrics forcefully bury themselves into our brain. Doing so in such a way, it brings an abundance of unbounded, shameless enjoyment and while they would be easy to miss, be sure to keep an ear on the insane transformations that are simultaneously happening underneath.
Setting us up with all the funky feels ahead of reaching the chorus, these powerhouse vocals briefly, very briefly, disappear into the distance allowing swanky slapped bass guitar to break through. Then, like the swift approaching of an ambulance, they resurge with increasing force. Even without the fact it’s based around the word ‘siren’, you can tell it is from word-painting alternating pitches. Oh, and the inclusion of an actual siren of course! However, while being so blatant may appear, dare I say it, cheesy, with us completely on board with every single element, it just makes the whole sound even more phenomenal.
Taking this a stage further, as we move through and beyond the chorus itself all of what has been established collides like a meticulously organised car crash. Perfectly interlocking with each other, guitar centred hooks and riffs work in wonderful opposition, frantic sounding horn fragments force their way through and melismatic lead vocals descend like an effortlessly swan dive from a cliff top. Add to this the harmonic call and response phrase of ‘Emergency, what you’ve done to me’ and you really will feel like you’ve been intravenously administered a huge dose of adrenaline.
Bringing a few moments of calm back to the sound, on returning to the verse content the most subtle of changes occur. Contrasting with the sheer power of the distorted bass lines earlier, here they are noticeable by their initial absence. However, what is noticeable simply because it’s there is a brand new setting of the siren motif. Distant in the mix, the alternating vocal pitches are beautifully emulated by sustaining synth strings. Bringing an unexpected harmonic quality, its sheer brilliance, and the fact such a simple motif can still be heard when the former polyphony returns, makes it an absolute triumph. But if it’s polyphony you’re after, you’re about to experience it like you’ve never experienced it before.
Completely stripping back the sound from everything to basically nothing, the foundations for the most insane 90 seconds of funk-fuelled musicality you may have ever heard appear. Tricking us once more, all but vocoder affected loops of preceding vocal phrases drop out to set up a phenomenal succession of re-entries. First the alto sax starts to make its presence known. Then delicately touched high-hat does likewise, as does the vocalised siren motif. And then everything erupts!
Suddenly those showcase initial sounds from Graeme Blevins feel humble as they transform into the most wonderous, saxophone centred, sass-filled sophistication you’ve ever heard. All those gritty and slapped bass riffs, hectic finger-picked electric guitar licks and driving kick drums get thrown in to. As do all the accented horn motifs, harmonic vocals and of course the siren, in all its varying forms. Literally nothing is left out. Therefore with it pushing right to the end, it’s no wonder that we experience the ultimate utopia of going tingly from the musical insanity while face scrunching at the full-on funky goodness.