Review of Lost Tribe’s “Solace” LP
Lost Tribe‘s long-awaited Solace LP came out recently on Mass Media Records in the US and Avant! Records in Europe. (And it’s exclusively streamed at CVLT Nation here.) Lost Tribe are now a sextet (and boy do they put the “sex” in sextet! HAAY!) They’re now a 6-piece goth-punk juggernaut, with two guitarists, a bassist, a keyboardist, a drummer, and a vocalist. So, the lineup has expanded, and a question arises: can this larger, more robust version of Lost Tribe still pack a punch?
And the answer with Solace is a definitive yes. The LP delivers the goods. Solace features what a lot of people think of as “old school” goth-punk or deathrock, in a raw DIY 80s sense, but it’s really not that simple. The album is an epic odyssey through the graveyard dimension of punk, drawing inspiration from early crust (Amebix, Acrasy), 80s California deathrock, UK anarchopunk and the more tribal side of postpunk bands like Killing Joke. Solace combines piercing bass lines with earthquake-like drumming, strong vocals, darkly atmospheric synths, and razor-like guitars to weave a spell of death, lamentation, destruction, and disease. It’s punk rock from the wrong side of midnight.
There is a hefty dose of 1979 Static Age-era Misfits going on, an obvious band that no one seems to want to compare Lost Tribe to since Lost Tribe are, well, real, and the Misfits’ legacy has been irreparably tarnished due to the 1990s Jerry Only-driven sham reunion lineups, which unfortunately all us 80s Misfits fans must deal with now when discussing that seminal, ’77-era, original US punk, dark band (Thanks, Jerry O, for fucking all that up!). There are also echoes of the bloody burliness of Samhain’s 1984 Initium LP; TSOL’s southern California macabre punk masterpiece Dance With Me; elements of Killing Joke’s apocalyptic 1980 self-titled LP; and even dark 60s garage psych-rock like Music Machine, the Doors, and Jason Crest (“Black Mass”). Lost Tribe is named after Discharge’s “Lost Tribe Rising” song, and even though, as drummer Kyle Warzybok once said in an interview in 2012, “there is not a single, proper d-beat on our LP,” there is still something of the somber spirit of Discharge that fuels a lot of the band’s sonic missives.
Solace is a dirgey mid-tempo LP – funereal, gloomy, powerful. Kyle’s drumming has been produced masterfully — the echo effects are great, like he’s drumming in a vast stone mausoleum. To wit: The drumming on track 2, “Rise or Fall.”
And JK’s synths, which are largely inspired by Goblin, are perhaps the secret weapon in Lost Tribe’s arsenal. At turns they remind of the classic Farfisa organs used in the dark psychedelia of 60s bands like Jesters of Newport or the deathrock of bands like 45 Grave or even the weirdo LA no wave of bands like Nervous Gender. Davey Bales’ gruff vocals summon perfectly the spirit of old school leather-and-bristles hardcore. In fact, Davey has said Lost Tribe’s sound is “a mixture of UK and Scandanavian dark punk bands, and ’80s UK postpunk and goth bands.” Shravan Deolalikar’s bass underpins every song, providing the skeletal framework upon which the dark, cathedral-like structure of every song is built. Indeed, my only complaint about this LP is that it’s too short.
I like side 2 the best, to be honest. The creepy, Goblin-like synth intro on the second side, which leads into “Midnight Rain,” is on par with Lost Tribe’s best recorded moments as far as I am concerned. It really doesn’t get much better. “I don’t think we really fit in as a peace punk band,” singer Davey Bales has said, referring to descriptions of them as “anarcho” or “peace punk.” “My lyrics have always dealt with personal issues, not political.”
“I would say the strangest comparison I have ever heard was from my uncle listening to a track off the second cassette we did and saying we sound like The Doors,” founder and bassist Shravan Deolalikar stated in an interview on CVLT Nation earlier. “[W]e are a very diverse band, but the fact is we all grew up in the USA around the same time and all were sort of outcasts and weirdos in our adolescence, which has more to do with our involvement in punk and this band.”
Solace is a gloomy, galvanizing, driving piece of dark punk that reminds a lot of us why we liked this kind of music to begin with. Probably the best LP of the year.
Lost Tribe’s “Solace” LP is streaming exclusively on CVLT Nation here.
Lost Tribe were recently interviewed on CVLT Nation here.