REVIEW: Other Lives - "Tamer Animals"


Other Lives - "Tamer Animals"
Release Date: May 10th, 2011
Label: TBD Records

I’ve driven across America five times and each time I’m reminded of the great beauty in each landscape that slowly develops and melts away as I travel east or west/south or north.  The massive amount of land that will never be known, touched, or called home is overwhelming.  I can’t speak for everyone, but the attraction to question the multitude of lives and stories married to these unknown landscapes is undeniable.  Projection and imagination fills in the unknown, thoughts define the unknown, and a painting within the mind of what life would be like in these areas can be formed.  Art in each form can capture this emotion of wanting to understand the unknown within nature and more importantly satisfy our own romantic notions of what the unknown could be.  This occurs quite often in music in the form of storytelling within lyrics and manipulating melodies to exude a particular emotion that can be both familiar and unknown.  A good piece of music can transport the listener to a memory.  A great piece of music can allow one to relive the memory, pull out all the senses within the mind without them actually existing in the present.

Other Lives have crafted a personal experience in the form of an album, Tamer Animals.  Personally, the melodies and the trajectory of the record transport me back in the driver seat of my car, whipping across America and my own connection to a nature unknown.  The vocals on Tamer Animals are laid back and calm, never pressing for an emotional reaction.  The melodies provide tension and the feel that ultimately hint at this connection between man and nature.  It would be wrong to simply label the theme of this record as man and nature, rather, upon many listens, Tamer Animals explores how we make this connection, why we make it, and the possibility of music to capture such a relationship. 

Tamer Animals is not a flashy record and finding a single or “radio hit” is a difficult task.  The beauty of this album is in the full forty minutes and how each element of sound is crafted to complete a total work.  With many popular records, genius is surrounded by filler just to make it across the finish line (running time), allowing the final product to be labeled an LP.  Other Lives sacrifice immediacy for the greater goal of creating a full formed piece of art.  To talk about the qualities of a specific track would be cheating you the reader/listener and the creators, Other Lives.

Just as Henry David Thoreau used the written word in Walden to explore the connection between human and nature, highlighting contemplation as a general necessity…Other Lives turns to the art of music to examine similar concepts.  One would be wrong in trying to define the connection between Other Lives and their connection to nature, rather the band is asking the listener to explore their own personal connection with nature.  Tamer Animals is the curious landscape and it’s up to the listener to travel, explore, and examine the meanings of their own relationship to nature through the presented sounds.  Tamer Animals can be enjoyed as a very accessible, nice sounding record, but if you visualize and contemplate connection with the album as a guide, the music transcends presenting a theme and allows you to participate in building meaning all your own.  

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." – Henry David Thoreau


  1. I agree with everything you said in this review. I just saw them open for The Decemberists Friday night in Dallas and I couldn't believe my ears. I don't think I have ever said this about a band but they sound even better live. It was haunting. They played for only a half hour and it seemed like only 5 minutes. I didn't want it to end.

  2. We were lucky enough to get Other Lives to perform 'For 12' for us at Passing Clouds in London and we were seriously impressed. Watch it here: