Other Lives have gone through exponential changes since their early debut under the name of Kunek. Back then, the band was known for enchanting audiences, willing them into a silent submission. The power of the band still exists, though their self-titled debut [of sorts] shows that the band is willing to crawl out from beneath the Radiohead similarities into their own bright future.
We can get that comparison out of the way immediately; the only resemblance the band has to Thom Yorke’s posse is in the resonance of singer Jesse Tabish at certain points, but that is probably where you must draw the line in the sand. Sure, the sounds are familiar, but they are approached with an entirely new set of lungs that allows for the band to breathe on its own.
Take, for example, “Black Tables” which begins slowly with a darkened piano progression, as strings wrap themselves tightly around each note, clearing the way for Jesse Tabish to lay down his lyrics. Almost two minutes pass in the song where there is little else besides the piano, strings and vocals. Then, at the 2’48 mark in the song, the drums kick in, and the song takes off like a rocket blasting into the atmosphere of dense sounds. This is precisely where Other Lives will take you, as they don’t rest on the traditional songwriting strategies. Instead, they create an album full of miniature movements; these movements sometimes exist within songs themselves, often changing on the spur of a movement.
“E Minor” is one of the highlights, well, if you were to pick up a particular highlight, as close listeners will hear the strumming on the guitar as the piano playfully meanders through the background. Tabish’s voice hits a different pitch at several moments, exposing his versatility. This immediately followed by “Paper Cities,” which seems to broach the subject of war, or at least the loss of certain aspects of a modern society. One could consider this a single, if the band were capable of creating something as basic as a single, but even this song seems to go beyond those expectations of traditional singles.
The band even has the ability to throw a more light-hearted tune in the end when they offer up “AM Theme.” Sure, it maintains the solemenity of the earlier tracks, but there is something brighter bubbling beneath the surface of the song itself. Perhaps the brevity of the tune allows for it to open up quickly, before its able to branch off into something more epic; it does go into the song “Epic,” however, which ends the album.
This album is sure to be an eye-opener to many, as the band gradually begins to pick up fans along the way. It’s an interesting listen to say the least, and one that changes with each song. Other Lives have created an album of diverse sounds and uniquely moving muiscal movements.
Download: Other Lives – Black Tables [MP3]