Sun Coming Down is the much anticipated second full length from the Montreal quartet who have found love across the globe with their debut album which topped many end of year lists with it's twitchy economical sound and yelped David Byrne-like vocal delivery. This new album continues in that angular manner, an unpolished charge of politicised avant-rock.
9/10 Robin Staff review, 16 September 2015
There are some lyricists so good that come review time I just want to splurge their words, plus additional exclamation marks, onto the page. Ought’s Tim Darcy is one of them -- an orator much as a singer, tunneling out of a spoken word night and breaking into a punk gig. To that end, reiterating his words sucks -- to quote him takes the performance out his poetry. “Doesn’t it just bring a tear to your eye?” won’t sound as good without his Unorthodox Professor vocal residing over it; “alright! let’s do it!” has none of the sideways sleaze when you type it out; his sighs of “yes!” need his cathartic breathlessness to be believed. Listen to Ought; do not read this.
If you’re still here, Darcy has been leading Ought through their classical indie guitar rock tribulations for a couple of years now, navigating the Slint-esque dovetails and dancing through the Talking Heads grooves; the only real difference in style on ‘Sun Coming Down’ is that he’s now he’s gesticulating into heavier bouts of feedback. Matt May’s keyboards remain to strike a delicate balance between more dissonance and more harmony, Darcy wading through, queuing up his chance to permeate. The title track, wailing with a hundred feedbacks as the rhythm section (the winning combo of cool-guy bassist Ben Stidworthy and precision punk Tim Keen) push things tiredly into place, peels back to let him crush it all with a nice melody: “the night, the night”, he suddenly sings, as if singing is an involuntary slip of emotion, as if it’s sighing.
Through the album, these are the moments where Ought let up: they have all the fervour in the world, but their songs arrive at a hook just when Darcy lets himself unwind. “Beautiful Blue Sky” builds like Do Make Say Think doing their hoop-shooting post-rock, Darcy hammering out sarcastic sloganeering and coffee-shop small talk over scarred chords and blue-tacked bass; the moment where it all comes together, though, is when he simply lets everything go and exclaims “yes!!!” like, I don’t know, someone reaching whatever variation of ecstasy you want. From there, the song has to unravel into empty space, the guitar riff contextualised by a bit of skyline ambience overtop as the song recedes.
As ever, Ought are a magical rock band -- your favourite guitar album of the year just got usurped -- but they’re best at detailing the comedown. And bless Tim Darcy: he's a conductor playing from within the orchestra.
7/10 Martin Hobson Customer review, 28th December 2015
I like this album, especially 'Big Beautiful Sky'. I was so shocked at how much he sounds like Mark E Smith that I was sure MES must have 'commented', but no online evidence of this. The other strong similarity is early Talking Heads. As time goes on it must be more difficult to be different, and perhaps it becomes less important. On the other hand I do like early Talking Heads a lot, even now. So I would say it is early Talking Heads (pre eno) with Mark E Smith singing.
Having said all that it's a good album, with humorous quirky lyrics and slightly atonal guitar with a mildly manic feel.
'How's the family?'.
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