When their self-titled debut album came out in 2009, Other Lives lead single ‘Black Tables’ began to appear slathered over emotional montages on shows such as Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill but while the band could always be relied upon for dreamily hypnotic arrangements, their talents go far beyond the sad parts of TV episodes. Second album Tamer Animals continues their distinctively atmospheric sound that seems to create emotional montages even when your not watching one.
Opening at the Mercury Lounge with the boisterous drums and ominously gentle vocals of ‘As I Lay My Head Down’, Other Voices delivered a thunderous and haunting set that entranced everyone present. Singing from under a mess of hair Jesse Tabish’s choral dirges are perfectly complimented by Jenny Hsu’s string arrangements that united the entire crowd into a single dramatic swaying mass. Throughout the set various members used organs, vibraphones and harmoniums to ensure their distinctive sound was complete, with drummer Colby Owens at one point quickly swapping between clarinet and drum rolls.
However the band’s real skill lies is in flawlessly recreating the sound of their albums. Given the sheer amount of mechanics that were used in the fourteen months it took to craft Tamer Animals, you would imagine that performing the record effectively live would be a challenge but on songs such as ‘For 12’ and ‘Old Statues’, you can see that this is a band that knows exactly what they are doing. Finishing their set with an encore performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘The Partisan’, it brought a quite remarkable gig to an end.