This is a razor-sharp collection of passionate, informed, funny and often ebullient rock songs.
I really should have reviewed this record a hell of a lot EARLIER. It's been out for months; and I've been playing it for... months, MONTHS! Waargh! Months during which I could have bored all of you with my Ought-love, over and over again.
You see, the music on their debut LP More Than Any Other Day is ridiculously good; one of the most refreshing records out in months. Possibly because it sounds like pretty much all of the best rock records you own; Talking Heads, Devo, Pavement, Swell Maps, all the Postcard bands, you name it. The late, lamented Wooden Constructions even. No point listing them all. And Ought are without doubt a worthy addition to that list. They sit comfortably in this company; in that they seem to be absorbed in the task of explaining their own view of this world on More Than Any Other Day, whilst using this classic sound as a useful prop for making a showcase for their collective personality. They don't hide behind it, as lesser lights would surely do. If there are bits which come on like David Byrne in his Imperial phase,* so be it.
No; this is a razor-sharp collection of passionate, informed, funny and often ebullient rock songs. Ought create excitement in tracks like Today More Than Any Other Day and Clarity! by using the silences as a tensile, wiry element in their approach, revelling in the sheer uncomfortableness of it; and emphasising these silences by balancing them against the jagged, screeching passages of guitar. It's really enervating stuff. Their sound also nods to Emo, postrock and Math rock; dragging those unloved or overlooked stylings into other, more "critically acceptable" areas through tracks like The Weather Song and Around Again. It's strange how they manage to cover a myriad of attitudes and stylings within one, essentially straightforward approach. In fact there are one or two belters on here, things that you could imagine becoming anthemic. Watch out for Gemini and the title track.
Marvellous, more of this, more!
*Using the phrase "non specific city" in Habit is incredibly Byrne-like, innit. As is the yowling and nervous vocal mannerisms, but hey who gives? Who gives?