O’Brother classify themselves as an ambient, indie and experimental band, however after non-stop touring for the past year, particularly with alternative band Cage The Elephant and Scottish arena rock band Biffy Clyro, they could just as easily fit into the post-hardcore category. Yes, for a bit over half of their album, the band delivers heavy, in your face rock full of distortion and feedback. Most impressive though, is how well the band delivers during the quieter moments of the album.
O’Brother’s debut full length album “Garden Window” (which is currently scheduled for release sometime in November) like off with a wall of feedback and a crashing introduction courtesy of the opening track “Malum”. Tanner Merritt’s distorted vocals and the heavy distortion on the guitar riff combine for the sonic equivalent of a punch in the face, instantly alerting the listener that they mean business. The keep up the heavy, aggressive tone until the fourth track, “Poison!”, which initially begins with just a piano and vocals, but quickly adds slithering drums to the mix. “Lay Down” continues this pattern until the distortion kicks back in for the songs chorus, and a screeching guitar solo brings the song to a close.
“Easy Talk (Open Your Mouth)” starts quietly with an almost acoustic vibe, and is the closest thing on the album to a radio friendly single. The line “Why don’t you open your mouth and let it out now” is repeated over and over again, and the song seems tailor made for a live audience to sing along with. “Machines” is divided into two parts – “Part I” is a fast paced headbang worthy track, and “Part II” is a slow, soft song that explodes with loud rhythmic drumming.
“Cleanse Me” is the standout track on the album. It encompasses every aspect found on all the other tracks – lots of feedback, loud distorted guitars, stomping drums, and bit of screaming, and a quiet, borderline whisper outro. “Last Breath” closes the album on a subdued note, a fitting end given the intensity of how the album began.
With “Garden Window”, O’Brother proved they’ve spent their year of constant touring honing their skills and perfecting a solid debut album. Be sure to catch them on their fall tour with Moving Mountains, La Dispute, and Thrice!
Garden Window tracklisting
5. Lay Down
6. Easy Talk (Open Your Mouth)
7. Machines Part-I
8. Machines Part-II
10. Cleanse Me
11. Last Breath