The reign of fuzzy alt-rock has erupted like clockwork over the last couple of decades, spawning and regenerating into more forms than Doctor Who in a first person shooter. Immediate and jarring, oftentimes lengthy or hauntingly animalistic in nature, this almost second cousin of stoner metal is a harrowing spiral staircase away from classic doom or incomprehensible black metal. Fervent, urgent, elaborate, a slightly acquired taste–acid on a repeatedly scuffed salt block, toward which O’Brother (maybe unintentionally) offers a mighty and professionally executed contributory strike.
The real treat in letting O'Brother's sprawling debut full-length (11 songs over 63 minutes) unfold is just taking in every unexpected—and often harrowing—stylistic turn. The band uses a melange of brutal post-metal/rock, murky ’90s alt-rock, cinematic orchestral bits and mysterious, nuanced indie rock on Garden Window as a backdrop to an examination of Christian theology. And even when the album finishes, they haven't really found any answers: By closer "Last Breath," frontman Tanner Merritt is still begging the question, "If 'God' is an acronym for 'giver of damnation,' why even bother with the concept of man?" But that constant search is a large part of Garden Window's power and beauty.