Corporate Takedowns. The Illuminati. Super-villain cops caught on cell phone cameras. All current cultural heavyweights that are animated into band Tribe Society's music video for their single 'Kings' off their new EP, Lucid Dreams. Stationed in Washington Heights, Tribe Society frontman Gavin McDevitt and flutist/synth man/roommate Seth Hachen envision a world, perhaps a world that once was, where bands are catalysts for activism. They fleshed the matter out over Red Stripes at Miss Lily's last week: "[Kings] has to do with finding your truth...It's bold art intended to make an impact, to jar, to get people to talk."
But first, the music. Tribe Society is powerful. Intoxicating, even. Their prophetic lyrics and big room sound have merited them a collaboration with pop powerhouse Kiesza. The echoing choruses of semi-apocalyptic rebellion situate them somewhere between Imagine Dragons and...well...they're pretty similar to Imagine Dragons. Both even have a member from Berklee College of Music. And their story speaks to the comparison's legitimacy. Up until recently, the two were involved in a far more light-hearted musical endeavor. Originally from Boston, Hachen and McDevitt earned the ultimate modern badge of Indie success: getting picked up for a major Target ad. The song was 'Sail Into The Sun,' The band, Gentlemen Hall. They split in April.
Perhaps it was the exit of their one of their vocalists, or the move from Boston, but the happy-go-lucky 'Gentlemen' recently re-emerged as the truth-telling 'Tribe,' a structure that is far more characteristic of both their creative process and their ultimate goals. They live together (though not, they reassured me, in that RHCP Blood Sugar Sex Magik kind of way), and build off of one another's inspirations, impulses, and causes to make music that "enlightens," wading through the "numbness" created by the age of "endless information."
It's unclear whether Tribe Society is a product of the millennial generation, or whether their product, their music, is intentionally pointed at us. But there's a deep connection there. As narcissistic and lazy and entitled as you may think we are, millennials foster a sense of social responsibility in everything from the gadgets we buy to the music we listen to. The band is great, sure, but it is yet to be seen whether the cultural moment allows them to breed something bigger than themselves.