It didn't take much for me to get excited about O'Brother's new record. After all, their debut material was exceptionally satisfying, and the fact that they've toured with the likes of The Dear Hunter and Thrice only sweetened the deal. They've slowly been gaining recognition for their sublime amalgamation of post-hardcore, indie, and progressive rock, resulting in a bold and resplendent sound. Despite their growing fame, they aren't immune to the pressures of the "sophomore release," an outing that often makes and breaks careers. Luckily, their latest, Garden Window sees the band not only retain their solid aesthetic, but it improves literally every other facet of the band.
Garden Window is the definition of a perfect follow up, expanding an already solid base whilst adding new influences and ideas. More importantly, this is just the album O'Brother can, and should break out with. It's preposterously solid and incredibly approachable. Dramatic, hard-hitting, and surprisingly addicting, Garden Window has all the makings for an album that will definitely stick with you into the next year, and longer.
What O'Brother has done so well here isn't exactly in the alteration of their sound, but rather in the refinement of it. Where their debut never really felt complete, Garden Window feels like a living, breathing entity, compelling and wonderfully human. It's somewhat darker than its predecessor, with a more somber and introspective tone blanketing the entire thing. Oddly, this makes it all the more enticing, as O'Brother really hit the emotional sweet spot. Added to that, the band just really meshes together well. The music is indicative of that, each songs flows perfectly, with nary a hint of stagnation. Songs like "Malum" and "The Machines Part-I(II)" display a band at the hight of its creativity. Their heavy without being oppressive, and beautiful without being insubstantial. Absolute standouts that make Garden Window definitely worth checking out.
O'Brother lean more on the post-hardcore side of things, as their sound is rather dense, and often times heavy. Yet much like their tour mates Thrice, they employ an alternative rock aesthetic. This not only makes for a compellingly dichotomous sound, but it makes the tracklist incredibly varied. Each song is unpredictable, but always consistent. Smooth instrumental interludes are married with bombastic explosions of guitar and percussion. Moments like these are what make the album such a treat, and thankfully, they're quite often.
Garden Window is exactly the album O'Brother needed to make. It's the perfect realization of the promise they've displayed thus far, and one hell of a way to garner some more attention. These guys keep improving by leaps and bounds, so hop on and see what all the fuss is about.