When ‘Endless Light’ is good, it is really very good.
Label: Triple Crown Records
Released: 25th March 2016
O’Brother manage to seamlessly blend two undoubtable Goliaths on this record; Deftones and Muse. Now, think of that what you will, but one thing you can’t deny is that it’s a combo that absolutely screams ambition. It leaves them an awful lot to live up to.
Fortunately, they throw down the gauntlet with some ferocity in the form of the slow burning introduction on album opener, ‘Slow Sin’. This is the track that really highlights Tanner Merritt’s channelling of the mighty Chino Moreno and all the easy, sultry swagger that comes with that.
On tracks like ‘Complicated End Times’ the guitar tone is caked in grunge to the point where the notes are almost indistinguishable. Things are slow, rough and the riffs roll hard. It’s hard not to picture the band set up in the centre of the Mojave Desert at one of those, now infamous, Kyuss generator parties.
Alongside the undoubtable cool that swells on the record, there’s the small matter of that Muse comparison to settle. It’s ‘Complicated End Times’ that shows Tanner kick it into falsetto, Matt Bellamy style. Following that ‘Bloodlines’ shows off what O’Brother can do when their foot is heavy on the accelerator. It’s spacious and ferocious. It stomps from beginning to end and serves as a fitting centre point for the record.
From here on it’s that repetitive, progressive style that wins out. It’s slow, it’s brooding and it does begin to slide from the effortless grunge swagger into somewhat pretentious territory. No better is that epitomised than on closing track, ‘Realm Of The Physical’, which features four minutes of washed out noise in a seven minute feat of endurance.
Try not to let that foible put you off, because when ‘Endless Light’ is good, it is really very good. Jack Glasscock