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Ought - Sun Coming Down (Album Review)

Friday, 25 September 2015 Written by Ben Bland

There was a time when Ought’s musical aesthetic threatened to become resolutely unfashionable. Their slacker blend of various indie and post-punk stylings hasn’t had much going for it since the beginning of the 21st century. It’s been old masters that have dominated the field, thankfully with enough conviction to ensure that those of us who grew up devotedly listening to Pavement records didn’t have to completely adjust our guitar music preferences.  

The reaction to ‘More Than Any Other Day’, Ought’s debut album, was so rapturous as to propel the Montreal quartet to sudden indie name status, though. ‘Sun Coming Down’, therefore, arrives as the highly anticipated sophomore record. It’s not shy.

Lyrically its delightful cockiness is perhaps best summed up by a line from the title track: “My neighbour says she caught the sun, it’s about the size of a beach ball.” This highlight is followed by the majestic album centrepiece, Beautiful Blue Sky, with its core statement of intent: “I am no longer afraid to die, because that is all that I have left.”

The influence of Mancunian stalwarts the Fall is particularly audible throughout ‘Sun Coming Down’. Tim Darcy’s delivery always had a certain degree of Mark E. Smith’s trademark drawl to it, but it’s the musical element of the album that makes the comparison between the groups particularly appropriate. Rather than slashing guitars – a la Sonic Youth, for example – Ought have adopted the Fall’s emphasis on repetitive motifs, particularly in regard to basslines.

Then there’s the unpredictability, where memorable choruses sit alongside splurges such as the frantic questioning of Beautiful Blue Sky. Everything hangs neatly together, but Ought constantly feel like they are ready to burst into something frenetic and chaotic. When they do, however, it is with a steadily controlled ease.

On one hand it sounds almost lackadaisical. On the other it fits the band’s increasing embrace of post-punk’s lack of musical etiquette. At the same time, the production prevents it feeling out of date. This is a contemporary record, in touch with the alienation of the times, but one played with the same verve utilised by the legendary groups that went before Ought.

“Keep the golden suns coming, push the broken ones away,” Darcy tells us. Let’s hope Ought do indeed keep them coming. On this evidence, there’s little to suggest that they cannot go on to achieve increasingly great things as the years go by. Believe the hype.

Ought Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri November 27 2015 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Mon November 30 2015 - LONDON ATP Pop-Up Venue

Click here to compare & buy Ought Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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