Tina Siegel, CKLU For the Lambda
I’ve started to pride myself on the haphazard way I choose albums to review. In this case, it was my affection for modal verbs that did it.
Ought is entirely new to me, but I confess to cheating a little – I read a few reviews online before listening to Sun Coming Down.
Pitchfork Magazine described the album as ‘caustic and chaotic’ (Stuart Berman). ‘Deeply impressive’ – if suffused with an ‘all-pervading anxiety’ – said Stereogum.
Chaotic? Anxious? Count me in.
Ought was formed by four friends who met at McGill University – not one of whom was born in Canada (three Americans and an Aussie, if you’re wondering).
Sun Coming Down is a follow-up to 2014’s More Than Any Other Day (which was highly praised by Exclaim, Rolling Stone, and NME) and Once More With Feeling.
The band spent much of the next two years on the road, stopping only to work on and record the material that would become Sun Coming Down.
Which brings me to the album.
I loved the vocals – they’re polished enough to be impressive, and natural enough to feel honest. I’ve always suspected that it was possible to fall in love with a voice – now I’m sure.
The driving beats are also very satisfying. Songs are sometimes pushed, sometimes pulled along, tempos change. But we’re always moving.
My favourite song, I think, was Beautiful Blue Sky for the almost twangy intro that flavours the entire track. It was a nice bridge between my natural inclination towards stripped down folk and my harder, punkish edge.
It feels like the last few albums I wrote about had a trippy, techno feel to them – which is fine, but not my thing. So I really appreciated the grit and steel underneath the polish of Sun Coming Down.
The big question, of course, is would I recommend this album. The answer is yes. It didn’t touch me the way a guitar and a voice would have, but nothing does. Ought delivers a smart, solid collection of songs that’s far better than just about anything you’ll hear on top 40 radio.
Check it out for yourself: https://ought.bandcamp.com/
-Photo supplied by Ought