Ought Vinyl, CD & tapes by Ought at Norman Records
Gotta love these guys. Ought to. Okay that's out of the way; we can talk about how good they are now. One of Constellation's canniest modern signings, this crew of post-punk scrappers gave us an incredible one-two punch in their twin records More than Any Other Day and Sun Coming Down. Combining everything we love about angular guitars, noise deconstruction and, er, the Fall, they gave us sideways hook tunes like "Pleasant Heart" and "Beautiful Blue Skies". Their backdrop of odd melodies -- twisted by guitar-imitating keyboards and a cunningly manoeuvring rhythm section -- offered the perfect jumping off point for frontman Tim Darcy, who led the band like David Byrne playing in Slint. With an energy somewhere between pantomime lead and over-enthusiastic substitute teacher, no man has ever made the word "Yes!" sound so important.
These first two records sent us ballistic and filled us with hope -- here was a band led by an orator, offering us something exciting and impossible to shake. Their broken, pausing song structures have become indelible fixtures in the fast, frenetic jams they make. With recent third album Room Inside the World, things took a distinct heel turn, Darcy putting on a new, gulping voice as the band worked around the corners and put synths to the front. It's a good record, but a different one, with more patience and pop orientation. It proves Ought aren't happy to be our favourite fidgeters forever -- they're too inventive for that.