In this non-stop world known as “music journalism,” occasionally a record arrives in your inbox that unexpectedly leaves you stunned, crumbling to your knees as the sheer musical force coming out of your speakers weighs you down in a mesmerised haze. That is what happened to me with ‘Endless Light’. The third album from Atlanta’s O’Brother sees them stepping from behind the shadow of Manchester Orchestra, to create one of the most satisfying and overwhelming records of the year so far.
The main gratifying asset of ‘Endless Light’ is its sequencing. Over the course of 50 minutes, O’Brother provide a set of truly engaging songs. ‘Your Move’ is punchy, playing off harmonious “woo"s, setting the brash tone that appears throughout the majority of the album. ‘Deconstruct’ is jarring and scarce in its delivery. Likewise ‘Complicated End Times’ treads on the Tanner Merritt’s lyrical fragility before erupting in the chorus as he sings, "I need time to reignite.” Meanwhile, ‘Bloodlines’ carries itself with a domineering buzz with Merritt’s airy, distorted release leaving you entranced.
‘Endless Light’ carries itself with a stunning and haunting beauty that radiates from start to finish. O’Brother subtly create a gripping musical landscape. Songs such as ‘Black Hole’, ‘Burn’ and ‘I Am (Become Death)’ thrive off thick guitars and large drums with Merritt’s countering vocals continuously bringing a tranquil quality. Similarly, the title track and ‘Time Is a Length of Rope’ weave in a tender, hypnotic delivery proving to be two of the albums quieter moments.
As an overall unit, the imposing wall of sound and Merritt’s acrobatic vocals makes O’Brother an almighty force. ‘Endless Light’ takes everything the band has done previously and sees them becoming more concise and tighter. This album should lead them on to better things, as ‘Endless Light’ is their best album so far and one they should be proud of.
‘Endless Light’ by O’Brother is released on March 25th on Triple Crown Records/Favorite Gentlemen Recordings.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)