Review: Other Lives – Tamer Animals

Tamer Animals is the second full-length album from Oklahoma’s Other Lives. Self-recorded in their hometown of Stillwater, the five-piece worked on this second record for over fourteen months, in order to perfect their sounds and deliver the album that they wanted to deliver. And boy, have they done so…
Tamer Animals is one of those records which you can hear a dozen times and still pick up on new sounds, instruments, and moments of genius. Layered with care and with craft, Other Lives have clearly proved that there is never any need to rush the making of a record. The beautiful production and textures from instruments ranging from bassoon to violin, from french horn to cello, provide a remarkably rich and essentially orchestral sound. It could easily be the soundtrack to the world’s next blockbuster, (hear the intro to For 12 for example).
Nonetheless, despite the fantastic range and abundance of atmosphere on Tamer Animals, never do you feel like the band from Oklahoma have overproduced it. The chosen instruments are cleverly and purposefully intertwined so as not to overload the ears of the listener. Moreover, the vocals of Jesse Tabish bring a softer, whispy quality to the record, which, 90% of the time, are welcomed. Only on occassion does one wish for more exalted vocals.
From the opening horns on starter Dark Horse, to the sweeping, rolling and beating climax of Dust Bowl III, and from the Pink Floyd vocals of Weather, to the utterly awesome and heart-filling textures of Landforms….this record takes you on a journey, as you imagine rolling past the lavish landscapes of the States…never before have I wanted to go on my first American road trip more, than right now! And when an album does this to a listener, spins the cogs of imagination and thoughtfulness, it is always going to be a success. 
Tamer Animals is 40 minutes of beautiful, rich, craftsmanship from five extremely talented and dedicated musicians. Unlike many other records out there, Other Lives’ second effort has no album fillers. Each track is there for a purpose, as a piece of art, as a step on a journey, provided through their stunning work.
Tamer Animals is available now on PIAS Records

Dom Kay