On his self-titled debut, the Thirteenth Tribe, a.k.a. Joe Sears, delivers a welcome blast of melodic alternative rock that equally employs multi-layered guitars, synthesizers, and dance rhythms. Sears displays a knack for pop songcraft and drama via a hooky chorus punctuated by verses fortified by a sustained chord progression and a throbbing back-beat. Tracks such as "Style of Life," "Sunset," "Cry," and "There's Blame," purvey dark techno-pop similar in execution to Depeche Mode, the Cure and Simple Minds, utilizing swatches of sampled strings, lower-register keyboard motifs and infectious grooves. "Pretty Words" and "Fires Burn" are impassioned cries for love bolstered by bells, keyboard arpeggios, lush harmonies and funky bass patterns. A strong bow, Thirteenth Tribe displays commercial potential on this initial outing.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli