This has album has been a regular visitor to my headphones for the past couple of months, so it must be time to award it a review. Starting with the gently parping horns of 'Dark Horse' you are immediately drawn into the world of Other Lives - slightly mysterious, slightly ethereal, but a world that's as warm and inviting as a womb. 'As I Lay My Head Down' has a slightly Eastern European feel to its rhythms and backing, and then the brilliant 'For 12'  swoops in on a cloud of swirling strings with an  almost spaghetti western feel to the guitars. 

The title track is next, with some bar-room piano beginning the song, which continues with a melancholy air, and then 'Dust Bowl III' starts with a simple acoustic guitar before turning into something much grander, with rhythmic drums and a swell of instruments. 'Weather' is an unusual track, feeling unstructured and loose but with vocals and instruments harmonising, it rises and drops through the song, winding its way through your head.  

 Next up is 'Old Statues', which has a real sixties vibe to it as it starts, and is another that sounds influenced by Morricone and Western film soundtracks -you  can really imagine the tumbleweed blowing down the street as this one plays. 'Woodwind' has an almost classical feel to the music and the instrumentation which loops around under the harmonized vocals. Next 'Desert' is full of spiky violins and foreboding vocals, while 'Landforms' has develops an orchestral backing after starting with the saloon-bar piano again - this one is really intricate, you can listen to it time after time without figuring out everything that's going on in the music. The album ends with the symphonic heading east - admittedly 2 and a half minutes is very short for a symphony, but there's surely enough movement and emotion in this instrumental for it to qualify as one.  

There are loads of acts that you could say Other Lives sound a bit like - a snatch of Beirut, maybe a less pretentious version of Arcade Fire, or a less beardy Fleet Foxes, but there are no other bands that sound exactly like Other Lives. Theirs is a unique sound and a unique feel, and one which you should let into your lives. 

9/11

Russell

 

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