When music takes itself too seriously and tunes get grandiose and mournful, bands run the risk of collapsing under their own self-importance. But when executed expertly, such sounds can widen eyes and rouse spirits. In film terms, it's the difference between Oscar-caliber masterpiece and made-for-TV melodrama.

When music takes itself too seriously and tunes get grandiose and mournful, bands run the risk of collapsing under their own self-importance. But when executed expertly, such sounds can widen eyes and rouse spirits. In film terms, it's the difference between Oscar-caliber masterpiece and made-for-TV melodrama.

Other Lives falls on the fruitful side of this divide. The Oklahoma combo ably pulls off elegant epics built on decades' worth of touchstones. On the older end of the spectrum, the Beatles' more serious fare comes to mind; on a more recent tip, Shearwater's cold piano ballads are close cousins with this stuff. Mercury Rev, Radiohead and Rufus Wainwright are in the mix too.

For a more vivid picture, expect moody orchestral pop tracks bolstered by strings, piano and guitars of all sorts. At the eye of these storms is Jesse Tabish, wielding one of those voices that communicates gravity no matter what he's singing about.

The band is touring to build anticipation for its debut full-length, due out this spring on TBD Records, home to such heavy-hitters as Radiohead and Underworld. In the meantime, fans can check out last year's exquisite self-titled EP. Or just show up Monday at The Basement, where they'll open for Delta Spirit.