O'Brother
Garden Window


5.0
classic

Review

by Kenyan Pope USER (2 Reviews)
November 16th, 2011 | 149 replies | 22,198 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If Thrice had gone the way of fire rather than earth...

10 of 10 thought this review was well written

It was just over year and a half ago when I first discovered O’Brother. The Death of Day EP, which they will send you for free if you sign up on their mailing list, had me immediately hooked. O’Brother had put together a refreshing blend of post-rock, indie, and post-hardcore, and before too long the five songs off of that EP had become some of my favorite songs. Another thing that probably helped propel O’Brother forward among bands I love, was the chance to see them live. About a month after I discovered them they were opening for Manchester Orchestra. O’Brother kills it live, if you have the chance to see them do it. I’ve seen them live three times now and each time they get better and better. It was just a couple weeks ago when I last saw them opening for Thrice and Manchester Orchestra. Seeing some of these songs live was a real treat and helped stoked the fire of my excitement for this release.

The thing that stood out to me first and foremost upon listening to Garden Window was how much heavier this album is. “Malum,” the album’s opening track, establishes right from the get go that the next hour of your life is going to be a cryptic sludgy mess as a wall of of distorted guitars come crashing down on you followed up by Merritt’s haunting vocals. O’Brother has recorded a dark album, full of religious skepticism. On “Malum,” Merritt asks ”How great is my debt that my penance should be endless? Lo, my eager eyes will behold the truth” amidst an almost Converge-esque chaos. The closing track “Last Breath” shows that the answers sought after only bring more questions to the surface, “So if God is an acronym, some giver of damnation, then why even bother with the concept of man?” The song also serves as the ‘anti’ “Malum.” While the opening track is arguably the heaviest track on the album, the closing track is by far one of the more calm songs, perfect counterparts to each other.

Musically O’Brother has expanded upon everything that was interesting on their EP, and made it better. Many songs lean more towards post-rock/metal, with “Cleanse Me” clocking in just short of fourteen minutes. Listening to this album leaves you with the feeling that a lot of time was spent working on the continuity of these eleven tracks to make one complete album as songs build off of one another. “Lo” takes the vocal melody that was introduced in “Malum” and rehashes it into a more standard rock song, “Poison” starts off with a more mellow, slower pace and then builds gradually to lead you into the epic track that is “Lay Down.” And Machines Parts I and II, which could very well have started out as one song, serve to crank up the intensity one last time before the last few tracks send you off. Tanner Merritt’s voice is now even more versatile, ranging from the soaring heights of his falsetto to a throaty growl and just about everything in between. Anton Dang is Attila the Hun of bassists, driving a lot of the music found here. At times he can be seen using a bow on his bass, much like Jonsi does in Sigur Ros on his guitar, to give a different tone every now and then. The drum work from Michael Martins has its moments as well. I really enjoy it when Aaron Wamack teams up and they both play a building rhythm like in “Poison,” or “Malum.”

The constant touring over the past couple years has helped O’Brother find their identity as a band, and it has led them to release Garden Window which seems like anything but a debut album. They’ve taken all of their many different influences and mixed them together to do what has become ever-increasingly difficult, break down the walls of genre’s and craft something original. If they can keep it up, at this pace it won’t be long until they will be the band that everyone is looking to for fresh ideas.


user ratings (228)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Apollo (5)
Breaking the boundaries of traditional genre classification...


Comments:Add a Comment 
BenedictVII
November 16th 2011



369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I might be a bit fanboy-ish concerning this, but whatever.

Let me know about any grammatical errors and such.

flalafell
November 16th 2011



608 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thought this was really meh for some reason, good review though pos'd

letsgofishing
November 16th 2011



874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

4 songs in, pretty damn epic.

Review is a tad fanboy-ish, but still a solid review. take a Pos'd

iambandersnatch
November 16th 2011



1451 Comments


Gonna check this out soon, I liked parts of In Comparison To Me and The Death Of Day. Speaking of which, submitting ICTM to the database now.. coulda sworn it was there before? Weird.

whywontyoudie
November 16th 2011



3063 Comments


Saw these guys open up for Thrice. Only listened to a couple songs but they were pretty solid. They sounded really engulfed in atmosphere. Plus their bass player looks like Yoon Sul, so that was a big plus.

BenedictVII
November 16th 2011



369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's all about that hair.

Thanks for the pos.

Metamorphosis
November 16th 2011



416 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@Flalafell You ruined those ratings, man.

BenedictVII
November 16th 2011



369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ICTM had a different singer didn't it? I should listen to that sometime...

crazyblinddude
November 16th 2011



3389 Comments


First album ruled. Gonna get this now.

Wildorwhat
November 16th 2011



85 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I did not expect to enjoy this mainly because I think Thrice is overrated garbage. Yeah I didn't enjoy this.

elephantREVOLUTION
November 16th 2011



2701 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

listened to this today and it was pretty good, but it got a little boring at parts. i'm liking it more than their first album though.

Digging: IDYLLS - Prayer For Terrene

zxlkho
November 16th 2011



3424 Comments


I saw this band live when they opened for The Dear Hunter and I absolutely LOVED them. I bought their EP on CD at the show and soon purchased it on vinyl as well. I really can't wait to hear this. They rule.

eternium
November 16th 2011



16206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yessss.

Saw them with Thrice, La Dispute, and Moving Mountains and was blown away by how good they were and how much heavier the new stuff is.

I expect a lot from this record.

Digging: Thou - Heathen

zxlkho
November 16th 2011



3424 Comments


Yeah this rules.

mallen-
November 16th 2011



1235 Comments


whoa, didn't know this was coming out.

The ep rules, so this prob does too

Digging: The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

artificialbox
November 17th 2011



628 Comments


album of the fucking year

tombits
November 17th 2011



3463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really love this band, and from what I've seen and heard their live set is incredible. however, one
listen through so far and i'm a little disappointed; not so much with the songwriting, but the
production really lacks the clarity and punch i would've expected (especially with someone like andy
hull at the wheel). there's certainly some stellar moments, but i'm surprisingly underwhelmed with
this record.

as a point of comparison, listen to "machines part 1" when they played it live for audiotree, it
kicks you in the balls like it should with a proper mixing job (it's also ridiculously tight).

http://www.audiotreemusic.com/music/sessions/atl_obrother/video.html

it's clear that the music itself has progressed and bloomed into something truly unique, it just
sucks that it hasn't (in my opinion) been presented in a way that demonstrates its true potential.

BenedictVII
November 17th 2011



369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can understand where you're coming from. I'ts most notable to me on Poison. The drums are pretty quiet during that track but live the drums are what drive that song.

North0House2
November 17th 2011



5583 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Is this streaming anywhere? I've been waiting for this to drop for a long time now.

Digging: Horseback - Piedmont Apocrypha

seedofnothing
November 17th 2011



3425 Comments


everything is pretty much on youtube



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