Now Hear This: 'Tamer Animals' by Other Lives

Photograph courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR

There’s nothing worse than discovering a band you click with immediately, only to discover they played at Brighton Music Hall six days beforehand. Dag, yo! Such was the case when Other Lives’ Tamer Animals came across my desk a few weeks ago. The aural connection was instantaneous: sweeping orchestral cello arrangements over guitar, combined with arresting vocals (from frontman Jesse Tabish) over harmonies. It plays like a score to some modern-day, romanticized version of the Dirty Thirties: atmospheric, dusty, pretty. Turns out I wasn’t too far off — the band’s video for the track “For 12” takes place in a spaceship over the barren wastelands of Mars. The quintet, based in Stillwater, Oklahoma, released their album in May, and speaks in tones of the symphonic, the hard won, the isolated, and the sublime.

The sprawling dreamscape continues with tracks like “As I Lay My Head Down,” which features ominous overtones spilling into melodies sprinkled with staccato percussion and upwelling currents of strings. While the band itself attributes its incorporation of “swift strings and pulsating horns” to old Philip Glass records, the complex arrangements and intuitive cadence are not entirely dissimilar to Radiohead. Overall, the album has staying power; I’ve gone back for listen after listen and have yet to tire of its epic, pretty melodrama — a sure sign I won’t miss them the next time they roll through town.