Release Date: May 10, 2011
Record label: TBD Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Tamer Animals contains an embarrassment of riches. It would be easy to simply line up the adjectives and let them roll in. Lush. Ambitious. Moody. But the truth is, Other Lives have managed to pull off a feat more remarkable than releasing a few engaging tunes—they’ve created an album. A dark ….
Oklahoma's Other Lives share Fleet Foxes' ethereal harmonies and the National's sense of erupting, turbulent majesty, yet their second album has a widescreen, filmic quality different from both. Tamer Animals feels like a dreamlike American journey, the heat rising over distant sands and the flies gathering on the windscreen. Featuring clarinet, bassoon, trumpet and French horn reminiscent of Arthur Lee's Love, the songs are meticulously, beautifully crafted.
Tamer Animals, the sophomore release from the Stillwater, Okla., five-piece Other Lives, is meticulously written and arranged and, at times, vividly cinematic. In the wrong hands, this music could feel labored or overstuffed, but thanks to the makeshift orchestra's shaggy ringleader, Jesse Tabish, these wistful Americana-styled tracks (influenced by Tabish favorites Sigur Rós and Godspeed You! Black Emperor) rarely feel forced. Instead of the big studio sound of their self-titled debut, Tamer Animals feels organic and lovingly crafted, a record whose lushness often invites you to simply collapse into it.
Other LivesTamer Animals[TBD Records; 2011]By Alex Phillimore; August 12, 2011Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGThere is a dark ambience filtered throughout Other Lives' latest release, Tamer Animals, that remains constant throughout. This is a band with a clear passion for sombre melodies that incite sorrowful moods, and rarely does the album retreat from this state. To call it 'folk for the apocalyptic age' may be too strong, but this isn't the sort of folk music to sing along with; it is preferable to listen to it whilst wearing a cloak at a Medieval fair...
Like the indie rock equivalent of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western films, Tamer Animals mixes dusty, dramatic songwriting with orchestral arrangements, creating a sound that’s difficult to trace to any single genre or location. It’s an Americana album, but only by the slimmest margin; few Americana albums are this cinematic, with horns and symphonic strings occupying as much space in the mix as the acoustic guitars. Violins sweep their way through “For 12” like waves, adding some ambience to a song that would otherwise be a minor-key folk ballad.
It’s hard to keep things fresh considering the impossibility of creating something entirely new to the music world anymore. If being completely original is not an option, what is one do to? Well, if you’re Other Lives, you take a long gestation period to carefully craft your music to make sure it sounds exactly how you’d like to present it. Over the course of 14 months, Other Lives meticulously wrote, recorded, and self-produced their newest album, Tamer Animals, at their quaint studio in the small town of Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s Other Lives released their self-titled debut album in 2009, following the breakup of frontman Jesse Tabish’s previous band, Kunek. Other Lives’s latest offering, Tamer Animals, sees the quintet reaching for a fuller, epic sound full of sweeping cello and violin lines rounding out the guitars, drums, and keys. It’s all rather hushed and downtempo, but with a wide-open-spaces feel to it, Tamer Animals isn’t exactly mopey music.
The most uniquely sublime, meticulous and heroic 40 minutes of 2011. Martin Aston 2011 There’s no track this writer’s thrashed more this year than Other Lives’ single For 12. It’s suspenseful, dreamy and awestruck in equal measures, combining undulating strings (possibly Mellotron), lightly galloping Morricone rhythms, subtle shades of piano and acoustic guitar and vocals that run the gauntlet from sighing to falsetto.