[Album Review] Ought- Sun Coming Down
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Release Date:  September 18th, 2015
Label:  Constellation Records

Above all, you have to admire Ought for their stylistic choices following the success of their debut album ‘More Than Any Other Day’. ‘Sun Coming Down’ is neither more of the same or an excursion into more crowd-friendly indie territory. Musically they are more rambunctious and noisy, even though they continue to work within a math rock framework. Vocally Tim Beeler (or is it Darcy?!) sloughs of former comparisons to David Byrne by fully developing his own unique voice.

The album’s centrepiece, and its finest moment, is “Beautiful Blue Sky”, a slower number that features some gorgeous reverb guitar. Even though it is still evocative of the CBGB-era of New York post-punk (particularly Television), the song is an excellent example of what modern art rock can be in 2015 – experimental enough to be interestingly original and yet still accessible. Beeler has a playful twang as he comments on our reaction (or non-reaction) to the physical and technological changes we are making to the world (“What is that sensation?/What does that sign say?”).

Elsewhere the band is noisier and janglier, but no less inventive. “Celebration”, for example, is like a mathy version of surf rock and “On the Line” has so many tempo changes that you really have to pay attention to keep up. However, musical prowess and intelligence does not necessary translate to a pleasurable listening experience. As mentioned, “Beautiful Blue Sky” maintains a great balance, as does the cocky, almost punkish “Men for Miles”. All too often, however, Ought tests limits with their insistence on math rock strictures and its overly repeated passages or with song structures that are too clever for their own good, such as the almost imperceptible but steady increase in tempo on “Passionate Turn”. These moments don’t approach the unlistenable though, and it is certainly preferable to insulting us with arena fodder.