Music Reviews

Frank Tribes: Gallery

Artist: Frank Tribes
Album: Gallery
Genre: Rock
Location: Chicago, IL
Label: S.E.N. Records
Band Members: Frank Tribe (vocals, guitars, organ, and autoharp)

Derivative is nearly always a pejorative term. When used to describe a musical artist, it suggests a lazy performer who is unwilling or unable to sail uncharted waters. And while Frank Tribes’ music is undeniably derivative, this factor only heightens the enjoyment in listening to Gallery, his third full-length release. In other words, derivativeness is a compliment in this instance.

Tribes’ style hearkens back to a time when melody was king. In today’s culture, of course, rhythm is on the throne and beats-per-minute is the law of the land. But Tribes’ guitar playing produces consistently memorable melodic hooks, just as natural as rain. Although Tribes may claim much hipper artistic influences, many of these tracks suggest none other than Tom Scholz, guitarist for the oh-so-mainstream Boston. This reference point comes to mind because Tribes guitar creates long melodic lines, instead of short, show-off-y notes so often associated with harder rock recordings. Gallery is an album that rocks you, albeit gently.

This release is at its gentlest on “Watch You Sleep”, a track where Tribes expertly replicates the hushed weekend mood of The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning.” Over a restrained drum beat and jangling guitar, Tribes captures a nighttime moment where he catches himself admiring his loved one slumbering. Appropriately, Tribes is at his loudest on a song titled “Low to High”, where the singer/songwriter shows a grittier side over a chunky electric guitar riff.

Galleries are specialized rooms where visual artists display their best work. Similarly, Gallery is an audio collection Frank Tribes can be proud of. You’ll likely find yourself humming along to these songs, as though you’ve known them your whole life. And so, whenever music points back to what is most admirable about rock & roll, that’s a time to champion derivativeness.

Album Tracks:

1 On My Way
2 Surprised
3 Blade Through the Skin
4 Watch You Sleep
5 Won’t You Make It Right
6 Blue Mountain
7 Vampyres
8 Hands
9 Gallery
10 Low to High
11 One for You
13 Cross the Line

To find out more, check out Frank Tribes website at or listen to his music at

Dan MacIntosh has worked as a a professional music journalist for over 26 years. His work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, and Country Standard Time as well as

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