The memorably-named I Have A Tribe is really all Patrick O'Laoghaire. The first album from the "band" is called Beneath a Yellow Moon and it's out this Friday on Gronland and, yeah, it's a beautiful piece of work despite that odd band-name.
What immediately becomes clear from the start, as lead track "Passage" gets underway, is that this is largely music beyond easy categorization despite some obvious parallels with stuff like Van Morrison's Astral Weeks or certain later Scott Walker records. The lyrical and stark "Cold Fact" and "Battle Hardened Pacifist" usher in moments of lush loveliness. Each cut should sit favorably next to some Tom Waits and Nick Drake albums in terms of effect, even if those are awkward comparisons to make in some ways. Following the epic "Casablanca" comes the nearly-poppy "Buddy Holly" which recalls bits of Elbow and U2 even if the presentation here is far more direct and simple. O'Laoghaire has a distinctive voice and on lots of this -- especially this cut -- he sounds quite a bit like Paul Buchanan from The Blue Nile and, like that band, I Have A Tribe make intimate music that blends rather simple instrumentation with supple melodies to really touch the heart. At his best, like on the aching closer "Cuckoo", O'Laoghaire finds a way to pull at the heartstrings with his delivery, and he pulls that trick off on most of this.
There's nothing entirely complicated here but it's the way that it's all put together that remains so profoundly effective. Beneath a Yellow Moon is full of moments that seem more intimate than those on so many other albums. O'Laoghaire sings in a warm and rich baritone that sends chills up the spine at times and few recent albums have seemed so richly touching as this one. Superbly beyond genre labels, Beneath a Yellow Moon by I Have A Tribe is a beautiful record.
Out Friday via Gronland, Beneath A Yellow Moon by I Have A Tribe is highly recommended for fans of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Van Morrison, and The Blue Nile. Follow I Have A Tribe on the band's official Facebook page.