This review was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Josh Hummerston.
‘No Countries’ crawls further into the brain of Patrick O’Laoghaire, known by the name I Have a Tribe, giving further view to the insightfulness and ideals of the singer-songwriter. The EP has a very natural feel, very earthy, as if it were crafted and recorded outdoors, looked on by nature and O’Laoghaire’s personal sense of self-awareness. This is all mostly down to the lyrical content of the record, but also by the deep, folksy vocals and the production.
On the track ‘No Countries, Just Animals’, O’Laoghaire makes a point of how cultural and idealistic differences continuously separate people for the most part. In countering this, he describes his homeland, perhaps fantasy-esque, hopeful and ideal – a place that isn’t classed as a country, just a “piece of the Earth” as is the world. There is also “no religion here, just water and dirt”. This topic can leave the listener very curious, especially when you consider past artists making some of the best music known to man based off this subject matter – there is a lot of potential here.
‘Medicine From Calgary’ gives a look at how effectively unusual O’Laoghaire’s songwriting can be, the track (and EP for that matter) instantly falls into this dark, disturbing vocal/piano combination, with extra instrumentation added as it moves along, producing a very emotive performance. The same can be said about ‘Tribal’, which is more sad than outright dreary but thanks to that combination of voice (now with female harmonies) and piano, it too shows off a lot of emotion.
The EP finishes with ‘Psalm’. The layers consist of a music box, a flute, and some further noisy sounds as O’Laoghaire’s voice hauntingly moans and groans, creating a chilling atmosphere, and an appropriate way to cap things off.
As mentioned, ‘No Countries’ holds a lot of compositional promise, with folksy charm, cruel eeriness and the right amount of eccentricity to boot. The vocals certainly aren’t bad either!