Sun Coming Down
18th September 2015
Ought are back with their second full-length album Sun Coming Down, following a very successful first year for the Montréal based quartet that saw its 2014 debut More Than Any Other Day make well-deserved waves for its blend of no wave jangly post punk and no-nonsense jittery rhythmic approach. WIth a “Best New Music” nod from Pitchfork and appearances on a wide range of year-end lists they gained a serious amount of critical acclaim.
Having spent most of 2014 on the road pleasing audiences with a blend of post-punk and the feverishly observational testifying of singer/guitarist Tim Darcy (who officially changed his name from Tim Beeler this year), Ought spent the first few months of 2015 writing, playing the occasional local gig, and eventually heading back to the Hotel2Tango recording studio in the spring to lay down a batch of fresh tunes.
Sun Coming Down keeps the band’s tight, twitchy and economical sound, with the unfussy, understated rhythm section of drummer Tim Keen and bassist Ben Stidworthy anchoring Tim Darcy’s electric guitar and Matt May’s fuzzed-out keys .
Opener “Men for Miles” adopts a feverish/frenetic approach mirroring the amphetamine rush of early 80s Fall and sets the scene for the rest of the platter. “Passionate Turn” marries early a moody VU feel with arty ’77 Talking Heads changes, and Verlaine insouciance. Darcy is on fine form throughout with a bitter-sweet feel to his vocals. “The Combo” hits you with an unrelenting wall of sound moving from a rolling guitar thrash to a purposeful two chord shift, and then a tasty little riff section, I’m minded of the unrelenting scabrousness of Slates mixed with Bunnymen melodies. Darcy declaims like a good ‘un and it’s all very satisfying,
The title track continues the mood with edge of madness guitars thrashing over a rhythmic wash, both repetitive and dynamic there is a hypnotic quality to this music which is instantly compelling, and there are enough changes in form and structure to make it stand out against any contemporaries.
Songs like ‘Beautiful Blue Sky’ with a more-ish bass riff, and ‘Never Better’ build from simple beginnings into huge repeating waves of music and vocals. Darcy’s voice and lyrics continue to make the key difference between the band and the rest of the known universe: his blend of seemingly detached irony, insistent proselytizing , fragmented wordplay, and the occasional breaking of the fourth wall, mirror and improve on a Smith, a Bramah or a Byrne at the height of their powers.
Sun Coming Down confirms the distinctive qualities of this band and they pass the second album test with no problems.