The timing of Patrick O’Laoghaire’s return as I Have A Tribe couldn’t be any sweeter – the songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s nature themed laments often evoke a certain autumnal aesthetic while easily lending themselves to turning of the season, and Changing Of The Guard is no exception to the rule.
It’s somewhat surprising that Changing Of The Guard is just the second full length record under O’Laoghaire’s moniker, as the project was originally established over seven years ago (debut Beneath A Yellow Moon dropped all the way back in 2016) but musically speaking, not a whole lot has changed in the interim. O’Laoghaire’s primary talent has always lay in his instrumental compositions, and on this front Changing Of The Guard showcases a soft expansion on Yellow Moon’s acoustic based arrangements.
Whether it be the intimate jazz stylings of Cafe and Fly Like A Bird, the feel good funky bounce of Oh Man or Changing Of The Guard and Sunshine’s more familiar piano led melodies, there’s an enjoyable diversity to this collection and a reliably rich level of production which I Have A Tribe has made a calling card since his early days.
While there’s no doubting O’Laoghaire’s songcraft and compositional work, it can often feel as though the instrumentals are doing the heavy lifting on these tracks over some relatively minimalist prose, although it’s pretty easy to forgive when tracks like Sweet Day offer up such bright and jaunty arrangements as to speak for themselves.
Words: Andrew Lambert