I HAVE A TRIBE-BENEATH A YELLOW MOON.

I HAVE A TRIBE-BENEATH A YELLOW MOON.

Back in 2013, Patrick O’Laoghaire was a member of Slow Skies, the group he had formed with Karen Sheridan and Conal Herron in 2012. They released their debut E.P., Close in May 2013. Close was well received by critics, and a great future was forecast for the Dublin based trio.

This proved to a prescient comment. When Slow Skies released their sophomore E.P. Keepsake  in September 2014, critics were taking notice of Slow Skies. They were now classed as “one to watch.”  However, by then, Patrick O’Laoghaire had also embarked upon a solo career.

For the last  few couple of years, Patrick had been contemplating a career as a singer-songwriter. So, he adopted the pseudonym I Have A Tribe, and was soon  being described as one of music’s rising stars.

I Have A Tribe released their debut E.P. Yellow Raincoats on Grönland Records, in May 2014. It was released to widespread critical acclaim. Critics were won over by I Have A Tribe’s fusion of folk and pop. The highlight of the Yellow Raincoats E.P., was Monsoon, a beautiful ballad. It caught the attention of Anna Calvi.

Anna Calvi was about to head off on a tour of Europe. She was looking for an opening act. When she heard Monsoon, Anna decided that I Have A Tribe fitted the bill. 

So, each night, during Anna Calvi’s European tour, I Have A Tribe opened for her. Suddenly, I Have A Tribe’s music was being heard across Europe. Patrick O’Laoghaire was winning friends and influencing people, including Villagers.

Just like Anna Calvi, Villagers were looking for someone to open their Irish homecoming show. Who better than fellow countryman, I Have A Tribe? Villagers couldn’t have picked a better act. I Have A Tribe charmed the audience with their unique fusion of pop and folk. This however, wasn’t the end of this whirlwind year.

Over  a twelve month period, I Have A Tribe were asked to play at some of the biggest music festivals. This included The Great Escape, Electric Picnic, the Reeperbahn Festival and CMJ in New York.  Things it seemed, couldn’t get much better. However, it did.

I Have A Tribe was asked to headline at The Button Factory in Dublin. For Dublin based Patrick O’Laoghaire this was a huge thrill. Especially when he was welcomed with open arms by his hometown audience. With every appearance, it seemed, I Have A Tribe’s star was in the ascendancy.

Given how busy Patrick O’Laoghaire’s schedule was, it wasn’t until October 2015 that I Have A Tribe released their sophomore E.P. No Countries on Grönland Records. Just like Yellow Raincoats, No Countries received the same critical acclaim and showcased a talented singer and songwriter. Given the critical reception and commercial success of I Have A Tribe’s two E.P.s, surely, surely their debut album wasn’t far away?

And so it proved to be. Since the release of No Countries, Patrick O’Laoghaire has been working on I Have A Tribe’s debut album Beneath A Yellow Moon. It will be released on 27th May 2016, on Grönland Records. 

Beneath A Yellow Moon features eleven new songs from the pen of Patrick O’Laoghaire. They were recorded at the Chem 19 studio, in Blantyre, Scotland with ex-Delgado Paul Savage. He’s one of the Britain’s top producers,  and was the perfect person to produce  I Have A Tribe’s much-anticipated debut album, Beneath A Yellow Moon. 

Paul Savage has over twenty years experience as a musician, songwriter and producer. The former Delgados’ drummer has around seventy production credits to his name, ranging from Frightened Rabbit, Mogwai, The Twilight Sad, King Creosote, Miaoux Miaoux, The Phantom Band and Emma Pollock. Given three decades worth of experience working with some of the biggest names in music, Paul was more than qualified to guide  I Have A Tribe through the minefield that’s recording a debut album. The resulting album, Beneath A Yellow Moon should introduce I Have A Tribe’s music to a wider audience. That’s apparent from from the first time one listens to Beneath A Yellow Moon.

Opening Beneath A Yellow Moon is Passage  There’s a degree of urgency as a guitar is strummed, before flourishes of piano, bass and chiming guitar combine. They accompany Patrick’s vocal which is mixture of confusion and despair. He’s at a crossroads in his life. “If I’m not welcome in this town, where should I go?” Meanwhile, washes of cinematic guitar and percussion punctuate the arrangement. Later he sings: “I confess, I undress and have sex and there’s no shame…I think I’m going to quit this scene.” By then, his vocal is an outpouring of an emotion, and Patrick isn’t so much singing the lyrics, but living him. He’s like an actor in a play, that’s directed by Paul Savage.

Just a lone piano accompanies Patrick’s heartfelt vocal on La Neige. Emotion fills his vocal, as the lyrics take on a cinematic quality. Soon, Patrick brings the characters to life. For the first minute it’s just the piano that accompanies the vocal. Briefly, some reverb is added to the piano and it booms adding an element of drama. Then  ethereal, harmonies add to the drama, and add element of theatre. By then, Patrick has embraced the role of troubadour. It’s a role that suits him perfectly, and he wears with pride. As the ethereal harmonies coo, the arrangement grows. The piano is pounded, adding to the drama and theatre, while Patrick plays a starring role in what’s akin to a short story set to music.

After We Meet is piano lead ballad. The arrangement is spartan, with just a lone piano proving the perfect foil for Patrick’s vocal. His vocal takes centre-stage, and the listener hangs on his every word. He’s singing of the relationship he hope and dreams that one time he’ll find himself in, “After We Meet.” His vocal is needy and hopeful, as the arrangement builds. This begins at 2.30 when the rhythm section join with piano and impassioned vocal. Then at 3.12 it’s just the vocal and piano that remain. When the vocal drops out, just bold, deliberate chords remain. Along with a flourish of guitar, they provide the crescendo to this beautiful paean.

It’s just a slow, subtle guitar that accompanies Patrick’s vocal on Cold Fact. Soon, a piano and bass are added, as Patrick sings: “got this feeling I’m returning home again, it just took a little time to find again, I’m just grateful to the bodies that have carried me, my family and empathy.”  As his vocal drops out, and the dark, deliberate piano combines with the piano and rhythm section. Then when  Patrick’s vocal returns, it’s thoughtful sounding: “you’ve got skeletons to fight.” Gradually though, the tempo rises slightly and the arrangement flows melodically along. That’s until the reassuring refrain of:  “you’ve got skeletons to fight, you’ve got time to feel safe, you’re not the last to loose faith, you’re not the first to curse the faith.” Later, having returned home and been reunited, Patrick sings: “while we’re here we’ll build a home, I think I’ll lay the first stone.” By then, the Dublin based troubadour, has delivered a spellbinding performance, while Paul Savage’s arrangement is one of the finest on the album. It’s reminiscent of what one would find on a Van Morrison’s seventies albums.

Straight away, Patrick has the listener captivated as he tells the story of the Battle Hardened Pacifist. Just a melancholy  piano sets the scene for Patrick’s vocal. Slowly and deliberately he delivers the lyrics: “I have been chosen as a warrior, a Battle Hardened Pacifist and I like the taste of this.” It seems the one-time pacifist has a taste of bloodlust. Soon, the tempo rises and drama builds. The arrangement ebbs and flows, as Patrick combines emotion and power. Adding to the drama is the piano. Part from occasional handclaps, it’s a case of less is more, on one of the most thought-provoking tracks on Beneath A Yellow Moon.

At just over nine minutes, Casablanca is something of an epic track. During the track, Patrick pays homage to the 1942 movie, featuring Humphrey Bogart. This quickly becomes apparent as he incorporates lines from Casablanca. Straight away, it’s easy to imagine Patrick playing the piano in the famous club. Meanwhile, a lone piano accompanies Patrick’s wistful vocal. Soon, he delivers the line: “of all the bars in on world, of  all the heads on all the girls, you had to come into mine.”  Then comes another famous line: “whose looking at you kid.” However, he adds “I hope this letter finds you well, return address is hell.” As Patrick sings hurt and heartbreak is omnipresent. The song become a lament for the love he lost, and Patrick, the tormented troubadour, delivers a soul-baring vocal on what’s a , beautiful, heart wrenching song.

On Buddy Holly Patrick delivers a tender vocal as a guitar and piano accompany him. The piano is played slowly,  and deliberately, so not to overpower a vocal that’s tender and heartfelt. Gradually though, the arrangement builds and grows, with harmonies joining the piano and guitar. Producer Paul Savage pans the harmonies left, while drums are panned right. This leaves plenty of space for the piano and vocal. Later, when the vocal  drops out, a piano that’s big, bold and dramatic as the track reaches a crescendo.

Not for the first time, Patrick dawns the role of troubadour on Kamala. That’s the case from the moment he sings: “I would be tired if I was as wise as you.” By then, Patrick sounds not unlike Chris Thompson of The Bathers.  Not only does Patrick sound like Chris. Stylistically there are similarities, with Chris’ vocal. Maybe Patrick was a fan of The Bathers? It certainly sounds like it.  I Have A Tribe, like The Bathers are purveyors of sophisticated cerebral pop. That’s the perfect description of Kamala, which mostly, features Patrick, the piano and a guitar. Later drums are added, as Patrick’s quivering vocal soars above the arrangement He seems to draw inspiration from Scott Walker. Mostly, though, Patrick reminds me of Chris Thompson, on what’s another breathtaking ballad from I Have A Tribe.

The sound of footsteps opens Tango, before Patrick sings: “I think I’m in a  little trouble, so I think I’m going to lie down over there, it was different when I was drinking and seeing double, sober is a quieter affair.” As he sings, he plays guitar and memories come flooding back. Not all are good. By then, a piano is added, and plays a supporting role. Mostly, though it’s just the guitar that accompanies Patrick’s vocal on this brisk arrangement. There’s almost disbelief in his vocal as he ruefully reflects: “it’s hard had to believe, that things have crumbled down to this, I don’t have the facts, I just have the names on a list, while holy man are praying, the devil takes the piss, and we must admire his timing.” 

With just a tack piano accompanying Patrick, he delivers a weary vocal on Scandinavia. “I’m done with running, I fear the loss, so I’d rather be alone, so I’d rather be alone, I’m done with shaking.”  As Patrick delivers his vocal, it’s akin to a confessional, where he voices his innermost secrets. Meanwhile, tender, soothing harmonies accompany Patrick, as he lays bare his soul.

Cuckoo closes Beneath A Yellow Moon. After a false start, it’s possible to hear Patrick adjust the strings of his guitar. This time, it’s in tune and ready to go. Patrick strums his guitar, and delivers heartfelt and emotive vocal. “Stand up she told me, stay strong she told me.” Still the arrangement is understated, and is reminiscent of Neil Young’s folk rock days. Midway through the track, a piano and harmonies accompany the vocal. The Neil Young influence becomes more apparent, and Cuckoo sounds like a song from the golden age of music. Melodic and almost anthemic, I Have A Tribe leave the listener wanting more. This is the way to close any album, especially a debut album like Beneath A Yellow Moon.

I Have A Tribe have come a long way in less than two years. They’ve released two E.P.s,  and opened for Anna Calvi and Villagers. That’s not forgetting playing countless concerts on their own. However, that’s all been leading up to the release of I Have A Tribe’s debut album Beneath A Yellow Moon. It will be released on 27th May 2016, on Grönland Records, and marks a coming of age from a truly talented, singer, songwriter and musician Patrick O’Laoghaire.

He dawned the alias I Have A Tribe back in 2014, and since then, has been winning friends and influencing people. This includes critics and music lovers alike. They can’t fail to be captivated by songs that are beautiful, cerebral, cinematic, melancholy, poignant, thoughtful and touching. They’re framed by arrangements that are understated. They don’t get in the way of the vocal. Instead, the vocal is allowed to breath and becomes the focus of your attention. That’s as it should be. 

Patrick’s vocal veers between heartfelt, emotive and melancholy, to needy and hopeful. Other times, hurt and heartbreak shine through on Beneath A Yellow Moon. It was a much-anticipated album. However, I Have A Tribe surpasses everything that’s been released previously. This can’t have been easy, as the two E.P.s set the bar high. However, with the help of producer Paul Savage, I Have A Tribe reach new heights on Beneath A Yellow Moon.

Bringing Paul Savage onboard was well worthwhile. He brought with him a wealth of experience. This includes producing numerous debut albums. Although he’s gone course and distance, Paul didn’t try and reinvent the wheel. Instead, the arrangements are understated, and allow the vocal to take centre-stage. Patrick then dawns the role of storyteller and troubled troubadour. These are roles that are perfectly suited to Patrick, and he embraces them both on I Have A Tribe’s much-anticipated debut album Beneath A Yellow Moon. It’s an album that had a lot to live up to,

Not only does Beneath A Yellow Moon live up people’s expectations, but surpasses them. That can’t have been easy, but I Have A Tribe have succeeded in doing so. However, we shouldn’t be surprised. Patrick O’Laoghaire, the man behind I Have A Tribe is a talented singer, songwriter and musician, who doesn’t so much deliver songs, but lives and experiences them. That is the case throughout Beneath A Yellow Moon, but is especially the case on After We Meet, Kamala. and Casablanca. These tracks just might be “the beginning of a beautiful friendship” with Have A Tribe and their debut album Beneath A Yellow Moon.

I HAVE A TRIBE-BENEATH A YELLOW MOON.

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