With a sound that often mixes electro-indie faves LCD Soundsystem with the likes of La Roux and classic bands such as Talking Heads, the new – and first full length – album from Stats is certainly eclectic, and for the most part, that’s not a bad thing.
Opening number ‘I Am An Animal’ has a confidence to it that very few opening numbers on albums of recent years have featured, and announces Stats’ arrival on the scene in a strong way while synth fans are sure to adore ‘There Is A Story I Tell About My Life’, which also has a thumping, almost wall-shaking bass beat to it.
‘Rhythm Of The Heart‘ explores a more 80’s funk style and I dare anyone who hears ‘Raft’ not to think of past hits from the likes of Scissor Sisters and make even the slightest comparison – with its impressive instrumentation and beat, it plays out like one of those songs you hear on the radio that in your heart becomes a firm favourite in seconds – it’s certainly a stand-out feature on the album.
At times it’s almost as if Stats blend the otherworldly with the real, something Seed has referred to in interviews as the “cosmic domestic”, and somehow, they pull it off, looking at life in terms of both the extraordinary and the banal. Nowhere is this more evident than on the title track with lyrics like: “Other people’s money, other people’s lives, other people’s babies, other people’s problems,” put side by side with thoughts of expectation and frustration about what Seed both sees and hears around him. Life is never one sided, whichever way you look at it, and this track sums that reality up very well indeed.
‘From A High Sky’ is sombre, almost bittersweet in how subdued it is, and won’t be of appeal or interest to everyone, yet the almost hypnotic way in which the piece plays out makes it worthy of a few repeat listens. It’s not however the type of song you’d listen to if you were feeling a little morose yourself. Latest single ‘The Family Business’ meanwhile is perhaps the lyrically strongest inclusion on the collection, although to say Ed Seed’s writing and thought patterns, as documented on the album, like via ‘Other People’s Lives’ are a little abstract is somewhat of an understatement.
In closing with ‘A Man Who Makes The Weather’, Stats leave listeners with yet another thought provoking number: Lyrics, notably the opening lines: “I don’t want to be a man you can rely on..I want to be a man that you can trust”, are sure to make anyone who hears the song at least momentarily reflect on who they are to those around them, and the part they play in their lives. With so much going on in the world right now, the track addresses something that many of us perhaps might not have thought much about in recent times and that’s our own place on this Earth and what we are – or are not – doing to make life for everyone better or easier.
Other People’s Lives reflects much of day to day life for so many of us, taking into account views and opinions on many aspects of the world and society we live in, including Seed’s newly given perspective on parent and fatherhood, but it’s this sense of normality reflected through the album that makes it so listenable. For a first full length LP, Stats have set themselves a strong standard for what is hopefully to come in the future.
Other People’s Lives is out now on Memphis Industries.