Other Lives, “Rituals”
Over the course of their catalog, Other Lives have recorded some of the most beautiful and alluring pieces of music of the last decade. When you return to the band’s original project Kunek—which recorded one album in 2006 before moving onwards and upwards—there are lovely, but abstract, brushstrokes that are mere intimations of what Other Lives would later sharpen into focus. The piano-driven emotional drama of “Black Tables,” from Other Lives’ 2009 self-titled debut, and the cinematic, instrumental triumph of Tamer Animals’ “Dark Horse,” too, were moving, stunning hints at what was to come, but it’s here on Rituals that the band deliver a whole masterpiece. Long, at fourteen tracks and nearly an hour, there’s scarcely a second that isn’t drowning in orchestral bliss. Lead singer Jesse Tabish’s distinctive vocals are slow and deep-rooted, and though they bear a kind of inherent, beautiful melancholy, the rich instrumentation that accompanies them is varied, sometimes divergently, but always absorbingly so. An impressive triumph that carries such an enormous weight of gorgeous sounds, layers, and textures, Rituals soars absolutely, without boundaries or burdens.