Other Lives, most of which were members of the former band Kunek, hail from Stillwater, OK, and are currently on tour for their new album Tamer Animals. The perfect fantasy film soundtrack, the album is orchestral and mystical. Singer Jesse Tabish’s melodies are akin to Fleet Foxes’ medieval folk lines, for example in the verses of the track “As I Lay”, where the cello follows Tabish in fluid runs, and castanets and booming drums evoke men on horseback.
The lyrics seem underdeveloped in contrast to arrangements that are cinematic and darkly magical. In the title track, I thought that the idea of humans as merely tamer animals was pretty interesting, but the lyrics are vague and abstract. The atmosphere occasionally reminds me of Danish group Mew, on “Woodwinds” especially, which almost doesn’t need vocals, since the instruments are so lush and imaginative on their own. The back-up “oooh’s” in the intro and verses of “Desert” make me think of a movie score that I can’t pinpoint… It’s spacey, earnest, and swelling out into a night sky. I think it’s E.T., actually. Don’t laugh.
“Old Statues” stands out for its 60s piano and spaghetti-western twangs of guitar. Opening track “Dark Horse” is short and inviting, with stirring strings and plodding cello. My only issue with the album is that it has just the one dynamic throughout, so it drags a little by the end. Insistently dark, it also limits itself to moments when the listener shares that particular frame of mind. The band is on tour now with Mates of State and Yawn.
10/3/11- The Orange Peel- Asheville, NC ^
10/4/11- Exit/In- Nashville, TN ^
10/5/11- Visulite Theatre- Charlotte, NC ^
10/6/11- Drunken Unicorn- Atlanta, GA ^
10/7/11- The Social- Orlando, FL ^
10/10/11- Canal Club- Richmond, VA ^
10/11/11- OttoBar- Baltimore, MD ^
10/12/11- Webster Hall- New York, NY #
^ with Mates of State and Yawn
# with Mates of State
Image via Amazon