Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Other Lives Releases Tamer Animals; Spotlight On "For 12"
Coastal snobs such as myself might marvel at how exquisite music such as Other Lives' "For 12" can originate in Stillwater, OK... until we remember that those dreamland darlings, The Flaming Lips, hail from dust bowl country, as well.
It's amazingly convenient how one can include music/video clips in reviews nowadays, as a critic would be hard-pressed to adequately describe the beauty-benchmark attained in Other Lives' new album, Tamer Animals (USA-May 10, TBD Records). Their approach is sometimes dubbed as "chamber folk," which covers about half of it — and any band who features a cellist and violinist earns double coupons in my book.
The band was doubtlessly inspired by a multitude of more modern forces in making their second record, but the production style traces back to the 1960s CBS studios that transformed Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel... an approach that has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Additionally, "For 12"'s reverb and atmosphere suggests a subliminal nod to Lee Hazlewood's genius... but perhaps that's just my imagination. Certainly, this is the sort of disc that prompts the mind to wander.
Other Lives could go toe-to-toe with the (justifiably) vaunted Fleet Foxes, but this isn't a competition. We should just be thankful, in these often ugly times, that such pursuits of beauty and perfection are still being successfully engaged.
(note: I included a live clip of "For 12" along with the studio version, for the amateur video from Norman, OK certainly captures the group's mesmerizing onstage magic.) - Steve Stav