City Tribe – City Tribe EP
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: September 4th, 2012
The internet is a wonderful thing, especially for music. Thanks to the internet, I’m sure I would never have found out about many bands, including most of my favorites. I also wouldn’t be able to listen to unsigned bands, including San Francisco indie/folk band City Tribe. I came across the four-piece while surfing a few music websites that post legally free music, such as Noisetrade, and Bandcamp. These sites are great for people like me, who want to look for new music by very unknown bands. I came across City Tribe on Noisetrade, and listened to the opening of first song, “Dream State,” on the self-titled EP that was released more than a month ago. When I listened to that track, I knew I had to download it, and I must say, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
If I had to describe this band to anyone in a sentence or two, I would say that they remind me of a mix between Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes. They have the Americana of Band of Horses, but the folksiness of Fleet Foxes. City Tribe also demonstrates a very excellent use of vocal harmonies, and both Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes utilize this as well. That’s one thing I really like about them – they have two lead vocalists, not one. While they do have two lead vocalists, they both sound lovely together. As a huge fan of indie/folk, I love bands like these; they’re quite new, but have loads of potential.
The self-titled EP starts off with “Dream State,” as I mentioned earlier. This is easily one of my favorite tracks on the record. It immediately starts off with a very folksy guitar (or mandolin riff, kind of like the song “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, but more folksy) riff that one would hear on a Band of Horses record, but at about 25 seconds in, vocalists Jacob Jones and Duncan Nielsen swoon the listener with a beautiful harmony. In a way, the song (and lyrics) describe what the song sounds like – a dream state. This is also a very catchy song; it was in my head after I listened to it for the first time. This song really sets the stage for what this band is made of. In fact, it’s a very strong opening track, and my favorite on the whole EP. The lush and comforting guitar riff is a perfect accompaniment to the harmony that’s going on alongside it. One of the main lyrics of this song goes, “Fell into a dream state, oh no.” Oh, yes, I did fall into a dream state when listening to this track. It’s absolutely beautiful. Next track, “I See Everything” further continues this song, but the electric guitars come into play. The vocal harmonies are still in full force, which I really like. If anything, that’s my favorite part about this band. This is something many bands aren’t doing, and it’s pulled off so well. The only problem I have with this song is that it seems rather repetitive at times, despite only being three and a half minutes. Fourth track “Indian Summer” is my second favorite song on the EP; it really has a Fleet Foxes vibe to it. At least, it has a folksy vibe. Despite being about how one is looking forward to summer, it still can be played during any other time of the year as well. Last song “Highway 1,” is another very folksy song, and it’s a very nice closing track, because it’s about the singers missing someone, and it just really works.
Overall, this is a brilliant EP. My favorite thing about is, as I mentioned are the vocal harmonies. They aren’t overbearing, nor take away the entire focus of the songs as a whole. They’re a huge part of it, but they know there are other musicians, and instruments there, too. Speaking of which, the instrumentation is great. Despite being folk/indie, there’s a vast array of sounds here. “Dream State” has an acoustic sound (with a mandolin used), while tracks like “I See Everything,” and “Indian Summer” have an electric sound. It’s very rare to find an unsigned band with as much talent as these guys, but I have a feeling I’ll be playing the self-titled EP by City Tribe for a long time.