Album Review: Ought – More Than Any Other Day

Montreal indie rock band Ought recently released their debut More Than Any Other Day, an honest and captivating eight song album that reveals depth of character and musicianship through their earnest words and artful instrumentation. Going through mundane aspects of life along and attacking them in cleverly written songs that include feverish moments, Ought’s debut is a bold call to bring some passion and excitement into your day-to-day.

From the first beat and shout on “Pleasant Heart,” Ought carries their quirky mood through truly well-written songs. On the first, they create a chaos of pedals and feedback, then go smoothly back into an even more explosive mess of clattering drums and keyboard. The sounds they make can be simply loud and turbulent, and the ways they get there are strange and enthralling. The off-putting silence that starts off “Today More Than Any Other Day” is accompanied by a slow-moving beat, but the following build-up will sweep you off your feet if you are not paying attention. They pick up tempo out of nowhere as vocalist/guitarist Tim Beeler shreds and talks directly to the listener, going on to explain how positive he is feeling about the less-thrilling moments of life:

“Well today! More than any other day, I am excited to feel to milk of human kindness / and today more than any other day I am excited to go grocery shopping / and today more than any other day, I am prepared to make the decision between two percent and whole milk / and today more than any other day, I’ll look into the eyes of the old man across from me on the train and say ‘Hey! Well everything is gonna be okay!’

After settling down a little, a crafty bass line leads into another manic explosion of moans and yells. The following song “Habit” slows down with shimmering guitar and a beat that is led by poetic vocals. Talking about the idea of an empty habit forming, Beeler has some really revealing things to say: “Is there a weight that you are trying to unload here? but you just can’t get it, ya can’t get it off now / and when you get it, get it in your bloodstream, and you just feel whole with it, but you just can’t get relief / and there it comes again! and I give in again.” The feelings of loneliness and inclination to form habits are tackled on this anthem; definitely a standout on the record.

“The Weather Song” features a more quickly-paced vocal delivery, with effortless transitions between the different sections of the song. One of the most notable times on this hit comes when the guitar guts out, leaving keyboard, drums, and bass keeping a cool beat as Beeler shouts “Tell me what to do and when to feel alive, and tell me what the weather’s like so I don’t have to go outside!” and the band jumps back into the song’s memorable riff (watch a green screen video for this song below). “Around Again”‘s second half brings in some very deep and crippling ideas, Beeler says in passing, “We have reached the intermission / and the Lord is in attendance / and we can ask him all our questions / I know I will / like ‘are we halfway there yet?’ / or ‘are we lost forever?'” over an anxiety-inducing guitar riff. On album-closer “Gemini” we hear Beeler quickly pacing through his thoughts, “I retain the right to be disgusted by life / I retain the right to be in love with everything in sight” and “One, lone, dull night, I said ‘I think that I have finally lost my mind.'” The ultimate resolution the band comes to through the mess of dealing with the mundane and useless, is “Want it!,” a resounding statement to be more mindful and passionate about how you spend your life.

Order More Than Any Other Day from Constellation Records here, or stream it on Spotify. Catch Ought playing at Boot and Saddle on July 9th with Dub Thompson, find tickets here.

Image via bandcamp.

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