When asked about the criticism of the vocals on Other Lives’ 2011 sophomore effort Tamer Animals, lead singer (and pianist, and guitarist, and percussionist, because we’re talking about a band where everyone apparently does everything) Jesse Tabish explained that he strives for less of a frontman mentality and wanted “to let the vocals sit and co-exist with the music.” That’s the case once again on this four-song EP, which serves as a stopgap until the Stillwater, OK collective drops their forthcoming third full-length.
The record begins with an urgent violin loop (” … written in my parents’ backyard,” Tabish says) that’s paired with layered percussion soon accompanied by keys and Tabish’s melancholic vibrato, intentionally drowning in a stratum of sound. “Dead Can”, recorded using a laptop on the band’s tour van, gives a glimpse at what Other Lives might sound like without a boundless supply of instruments.
It also serves as the perfect electro-platform for Thom Yorke’s love letter to the band (the group opened for Radiohead on their most recent tour), the catching Atoms for Peace remix of “Tamer Animals”, which manages to turn an Other Lives song from something that has the potential to make you weep at home to a song for a night out.
The EP’s climax comes in its last moment, as “Dust Bowl” intensifies (strings, booming percussion, somber vocals: “It was going to be the best years of our life”) until it it breaks, unapologetically leaving behind no resolution. But not all EPs need an ending, and this one does a fine job simply buying Mr. Yorke’s favorite band some time before this five-piece releases their much-anticipated third full-length.
Essential Tracks: “Tamer Animals (Atoms for Peace Remix)”