Originating in Stillwater, Oklahoma several years back, Other Lives are definitely a band you want to discover, if you haven’t already. Their sweeping and dramatic music was first introduced back in 2008 with an EP that consisted of some demos, as well as a taste of their true form. From there, they had me hooked, but some people are a little more picky about their musical appetite. However, I think it’s safe to say that if Other Lives didn’t have you after their first EP, or even their stunning debut, they should definitely have you at the end of Tamer Animals.
The album begins at a slow creep, as per suit of this band. Musically, the tempo may be slow, but it’s nowhere near boring or banal. Instead, they begin their assault on your being. “Dark Horse” starts with some clicky-clacky percussion, and the song builds on itself quickly to a slight crescendo, strings and all, at just over the minute mark. Then the sound cuts out for an instant, and Other Lives begin again. Jesse Tabish leads the way with his alluringly sinister, yet tender vocals. His voice has a very cohesive quality about it that allows it to coat the space in between the sprawling violin or jangly percussion in an epic light.
Following the opener in the song number two position comes “As I Lay My Head Down,” which picks up the pace, but does not skimp on the beauty that this band is so good at. It ebbs its way between sizzling and then cooled, trading back and forth with strings and pattering percussion. But Other Lives don’t stop their ascent to intense and moving music here. They continue this excellent two-song steak with a third: “For 12.” On this one, you have the gentle guitar pulling at the back of your mind, while the “oohs” combine with instruments to give a spine tingling effect. Whether this band knows it or not, their efforts are extremely goose bump-inducing.
So when Other Lives reaches the fourth and title track, “Tamer Animals,” there is no surprise that it’s love at first listen once again. With its faded and fuzzy drums and omnipresent piano, it’s as close as this band gets to pop without losing their epic-ness. Like the first four tracks, the rest of the album follows suit: cathartic, and mildly explosive. Highlights include “Old Statues” and “Heading East,” both of which encompass the delicate elegance that is so pertinent to this band. To be honest, I didn’t find a track that I didn’t like; they were all that good.
Despite its name, there really isn’t too much “tame” about this album. Other Lives have evolved into a more confident beast here than that of their previous works, but they still keep a firm grasp on such a swelling sound.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/otherlives_tameranimals.mp3]
Download: Other Lives – Tamer Animals [MP3]