Other Lives – Rituals (album review)

by Woody on June 1, 2015


In the span of five years, Other Lives went from having me obsess over them; to having Thom Yorke obsess over them. I’d like to imagine there are a few things I do better than Thom Yorke, but music certainly isn’t one of them.

Much like a Radiohead album, Other Lives albums swallow you whole. It is meant to be consumed slowly and deliberately, savoring every morsel like you were eating a great meal. You don’t dabble with Other Lives. You certainly don’t put an Other Lives track into some playlist when you are having a dinner party. Fuck that. You sit your ass down, put on an absurdly expensive pair of headphones and turn the world off for 45 minutes.

Rituals has taken longer to weave its way into my fabric than their prior two efforts. Their debut sunk its claws in immediately and I spun it relentlessly. Tamer Animals took a couple of weeks of me saying, its OK before realizing; “Holy Shit, this is fucking amazing.” Rituals took well over a month before entwining itself in my DNA. Most of that has to do with their slow and measured approach into more electronica elements. By no means have they abandoned their “folk” roots; they’ve just continually expanded on their sound.

There is three song sequence that is simply magical in the middle of the album. Two Pyramids has this proggy sound to it, sort of like an old Genesis tune before Phil Collins turned them to shit. I have visions of lead singer Jesse Tabish dropping acid and wearing costumes at my next Other Lives show. Need A Line is the tune that would sound most at home on their debut, plowing ahead to Josh Onstott’s bass line. The track opens with a Spaghetti-Western influenced guitar riff and the flourishes throughout are so subtle; right up until to the end where it has this major sweeping and dramatic finish. That’s followed by the very deliberate English Summer. Buoyed by Jonathan Mooney’s piano melody the track dips and rises, finishing with a nice trumpet outro by Mooney. And yes, he can play keys and trumpet at the same time.

I once said to Shirk that an Other Lives album would probably be best enjoyed by lying naked on a shag rug while stoned out of your mind. Alas, I don’t own a shag rug, I don’t do drugs anymore and the sight of my naked body is forbidden in my household. In spite of all those roadblocks, I have still found Rituals to be one of the more compelling listens of 2015 and Other Lives to be one of our nations’ best bands.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Other Lives are here

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