Other Lives

TBD Records, 2015


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


It might not be all that surprising that Other Lives opened for Radiohead and that Atoms For Peace remixed an Other Lives song (“Tamer Animals”), considering the similarities in how these three bands approach their music.

The musical world of Other Lives is far different from that of Radiohead or Atoms For Peace. At the same time, these two contrasting approaches have a close connection with each other in that they are totally unconventional and unique. But whereas Thom Yorke’s various musical projects have a more futuristic, electronic approach, Other Lives follows a totally opposite and folksy path to achieve the same effect.


The creaky organic baroque pop musical style of Other Lives couldn’t be more dissimilar to Radiohead’s music. But there are a lot of parallels in the strange and beautiful worlds that each band’s music creates. In fact, Other Lives might be the only folk-oriented band that can open for Radiohead and not seem out of place.

This Stillwater, OK band did a marvelous job creating its version of the strange and beautiful world on its 2011 release Tamer Animals. It may have seemed that the band couldn’t push its music much further, since that release was such a solid effort. But with Rituals, it is almost like the band has set a new bar of excellence for itself.

Stylistically, not much has changed since Tamer Animals. However, this is just an album in a league of its own. Everything from the songwriting, arrangement, and the production is far superior. Everything is bigger and better here: the weird moments are weirder, the pop songs are poppier, and singer Jesse Tabish’s vocals are more heavenly than ever. This record is as consistent as an album can get. There is no single song that is outstanding, and there are no lukewarm (even slightly so) moments here.

If Tamer Animals was an album with natural beauty, Rituals is natural beauty with just enough makeup to make the inherently stunning good looks pop out. This shows in the meticulous production of the album, with gorgeous embellishments in just the right places that sound lavish but also very refined.

Aside from long-time producer (and Atoms For Peace member) Joey Waronker, Other Lives and Thom Yorke’s musical enterprises are pretty special just because of how exceptional and one-of-a-kind they are. And it is for this reason that it is always great when any of these acts comes out with a new release. Rituals proves that Other Lives is a band that keeps getting better with every album. Although it is hard to imagine if this release can ever be topped, let’s hope Other Lives at least keeps up the same consistency in the long run, just like the musical outputs of Mr. Yorke.

Rating: A

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