Luckily for me, Other Lives exist to at least give me a flavour of the atmosphere, for their music is of the extravagant variety, and would fit perfectly with the umpteen trailers or even the more elaborate big screen adverts they make these days.
Often this works superbly, such as the dramatic ‘Easy Way Out’, and sometimes the arrangements possess the earthy beauty of a Sam Genders project, such as Diagrams, for example. Alt-J seem to have been something of a blue print, certainly, for the electric train chug of ‘Reconfiguration‘, yet they frequently convey a sound that is difficult to categorise, which deserves a ripple of applause from the cheap seats at least.
We are, throughout the album’s duration (just five minutes shy of an hour) extended a helping hand and are led into the kind of sun-drenched, palm treed beach paradise that MGMT might have built their den in when they started out. These pieces have the dreamlike quality of fantasia and, despite those clattering, booming drums, it’s hard to imagine there’ll be a more relaxing album released this year.
There are some interesting little cul-de-sacs along the way too. It’s difficult, when listening to ‘2 Pyramids’, for example, not to be put in mind of Fleet Foxes, though this is almost entirely to do with the repetition of the two word mantra “My protector” than any musical similarity, whereas ‘English Summer’ sounds rather like a Neil Hannon work swimming in a sea of ‘Unchained Melody’ style piano refrain.
It’s all too easy to spot other reference points (‘Need A Line’, for example, uses an almost identical bass motif to The Decemberists’ ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ from their seventh album earlier this year) but whether the morsels we’re thrown are intentional or not, it’s difficult to say. I suspect not.
So now the show has finished, the popcorn munchers are leaving in their droves, but if Other Lives are performing the closing theme of the movie, I would suggest it may be prudent to stay for the end credits too…