Posts Tagged ‘Sun Coming Down’

“If post-punk speaks the language of disaffection, then don’t call Ought a post-punk band. It’s easy to listen to Tim Darcy’s wry vocal inflection and find cynicism in it, but Ought’s music swallows angst and spits it back out in the form of life-affirming songs. They seek to inspire with “Sun Coming Down” its an impulsive, interpretive ode to existence that, on particularly bad days, reminds me of all that I have left under this big, beautiful, blue sky

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Ought Known the value of a song’s lyrics, David Byrne once said, “In a certain way, it’s the sound of the words—the inflection and the way it’s sung and the way it fits the melody and the way the syllables are on the tongue—that has as much of the meaning as the actual, literal words.” It seems Ought’s Tim Darcy takes a cue from this emphasis on lyrical delivery over lyrical content in the Montreal-based, post-punk band’s newest single “Men for Miles”. It’s the second track off their sophomore LP Sun Coming Down on Constellation Records

As you listen to the song’s frantic energy unfurl, you get a sense that Darcy is someone who lives in his own head most of the time. He proposes anarchy (“bringing this whole fucker down”) only to follow it up with clinical logic and rationality (“It came with instructions / It’s neither here nor there”). Over a heaping layer of rhythmic guitars and drums, he asks with a combination of paranoia and distrust, “What did you see? / What did I see?” In “Men For Miles”, the mental cage breaks open and unleashes an anxiety-ridden stream of consciousness that makes more sense and feels more potent in listening to the idiosyncratic tone in  voice than it ever would on paper.


My favorite song from 2015, glad to see they made a music video for it,

The everyday is beautiful. The everyday is boring. In “Beautiful Blue Sky,” from last year’s Sun Coming Down, Ought braids the roots of daily pleasantries and terror into eight minutes of contemplative and gliding post-punk. In a video, movement artist Matt Drews holds a mirror to the hallways, bedrooms and parks where our plainest, loneliest experiences occur. Shot with long cuts that invade those spaces, his motion contains graceful quietude and frustration.

Director Bobby McHugh said he wanted the video for Ought’s song to evoke Tarkovsky’s The Mirror and give Tim Darcy’s lyrics a surreal quality.

Clarity, balance and happiness can be the direct result of movement and breath, while our obsession with development, consumerism and frustration with the banalities of our everyday experience can cause feelings of nihilism and depression that at their most extreme can render us immobile and constrained. In this video, I tried to weave together two dreamy, surreal storylines that reflect these two competing states of being.

Matt Drews is the subject of this piece. He has that perfect mix of seriousness and sensitivity that can easily move back and forth between agitated immobility and tender acceptance. We shot Matt in a series of locations common to all of our experience, creating dreamy portraits that mimic the feeling of the lyrics.

We wanted the camera work to feel like Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, which employs long loose shots that work like a stream of consciousness, similar to Tim’s lyrics in the song. And in the edit, we wanted to present a structure that felt like a surreal dream that paired with my interpretation of the ideas Ought presents in the song.

Light and flowers are two recurring visual elements. You’ll notice the healthiest flowers occurring in scenes with natural light, along with breadth and movement. And the least healthy exist in lighting conditions similar to the devices (phones, laptops, TVs) that surround us. I really love the way the light in the bed works, since so many of us go to bed and wake up next to our phones and tablets. Tim’s streaming list of concerns in this scene kind of mimic the internet news ticker. Or a Facebook feed, or whatever.

Sun Coming Down is out now on Constellation. Ought goes on tour with D.C. punk band Priests starting May 4th.

Ought’s full-length debut, “More Than Any Other Day” was one of 2014’s best albums, and now the Montreal band has announced its sophomore effort, “Sun Coming Down”. The new, eight-song effort will see its release on September 18th on Constellation Records. The band has shared “Beautiful Blue Sky” as a preview to the album.


Drop a word like “existentialism” into a music review and you automatically seem pretentious . Perpetually optimistic, Montreal’s Ought always manage to lean into the void without falling, and this song could be skewed as a contemporary re-rendering of Camus’ seminal essay The Myth Of Sisyphus. On “Beautiful Blue Sky,” the exchange of pleasantries repeat like mantras and drizzle out of Tim Darcy’s mouth in a just-barely-understandable slur: “How’s your family? How’s your health been? How’s the church? How’s the job? Fancy seeing you here!” But the list of exchanges hiccups and flatlines when Darcy declares: “That’s all we have in the big, beautiful sky/ And I’m no longer afraid to die.” But his admission isn’t dejected; it’s liberating. Instead of worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the day after, this song finds comfort in the beautiful weather, the familiar site of condos, new developments hitting that big blue skyline and the reminder that spontaneity is always an apt challenge to the mundane. “I’m no longer afraid to dance tonight, because that’s all that I have left.” If you believe in something on-high capable of filling the void, that’s ideal.

Ought is a band that beautifully thrives off of the mundane. When thinking about their impeccable past work, their songs are almost like loaded streams of consciousness; conversational admissions slowly turning into epiphanies though the duration of the carefully delivered, passionate instrumentals. They derive inspiration from anxiety, from the coinciding fear and distaste for the future, from the little inexplicable things that make humans, well, human while at the same time comforts in the way it assures the beautiful ordinariness of everyday life. Perhaps this is why the Montreal quintet’s debut More Than Any Other Day was such a brilliant and thoughtful album, and that massive success transposes itself into into the emotionally lighter Sun Coming Down, their fantastic sophomore release.

While they are a band born out of protest, Ought’s music has never gorged itself on rage or unrest – not even in their fiery debut, where stark instrumentals and shouts into the void are put on display. Rather, the band generally seems to gracefully express their subtle distaste for their surroundings and their current situations through simple, tastefully orchestrated instrumentals and educated, intellectual commentary as anxiously dictated by frontman Tim Darcy, who yelps rather than sings. That system is further practiced in Sun Coming Down, where Ought remove their weathered armor after their ascent into epiphany, and instead take comfort in exposing a soft, yet toughened underbelly. There are fewer moments of intense realization, and there aren’t exactly any equivalents to the stunning ballad “Habit” or those specific feelings. However, in the way that this album is orchestrated, it doesn’t need one, and spends more time addressing as many things as possible with an added emphasis on emotional depth.

Opener “Men for Miles” is exactly the kind of track to start things off with, based on it’s unyielding, unrelenting nature of Darcy’s frantic, mile-a-minute vocals and the fact that the instrumentals seem to do their own dance, which is succeeded with the fervid, energetic track “The Combo.” The vocals and lyrics are really the main focal point of the album, whether its meaning or the sounds in which the actual words make. The only time it takes a breather is in “Passionate Turn,” where the band executes their most “romantic” song to date. “Beautiful Blue Sky” further explores their underlying theme of the mundane, but here we hear Darcy listing random grievances with modern life before exploding into a slew of run of the mill questions fit to ask standing around a water cooler or a work barbecue (“How’s the family?/ How’s your health been?/ Fancy seeing you here!”), repeating them incessantly to the point of suffocation. Towards the middle of the song he interrupts himself with a blatant yes as if to show his contentment with all methods of living life, which seems to sum up the album’s intent to embrace the ebb and flow of the everyday, or simply the release of tension. One of Ought’s greatest strengths is talking about the mundane without actually personifying its monotonous nature, and Sun Coming Down is chock full of  examples. Where the album really shines is in it’s moments of repetition in the lyrics, something in which I feel that only a few bands can successfully pull off. However, the track that really makes this album a stunner for me is the mercurial track “On the Line,” where the band does something riskier and fresher in composition. It flawlessly switches between spoken word poetry with vivid imagery and a fast, unapologetic guitar track in a frantic daze before dissolving passionately into submission. The instrumentals linger on Darcy’s every word, showing off their group dynamic and proves their abilities to become one unrelenting force. It’s a track that solidifies Ought further for me personally, not including More Than Any Other Day‘s “Pleasant Heart.” The album closes with the impassioned track “Never Better,” leaving a jagged edge and a sense of fulfillment.

Sun Coming Down is the contented, more relaxed follow up to More Than Any Other Day, but it is presented in a way that begs for it to be further embraced and understood just like its predecessor. While I do prefer the darkened, cynical edges of their debut, I still appreciate the fastidiousness in which they complete projects, and the fact that this album came as a complete surprise to me was what made me love it even more. The endearing qualities about Ought is that they always try to maintain a level-head while also entertaining the desires of madness and passion in their music, and the fact that they always help you take comfort in your own skin.



Ought – ‘Sun Coming Down’
New album out 18th September 2015 on Constellation Records, Ought returns with their second full-length album Sun Coming Down, following a break-out year for the Montréal-based rock quartet that saw its 2014 debut More Than Any Other Day make well-deserved waves for its blend of authentic, anxious, controlled and restive energy, with a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork and appearances on a wide range of year-end lists.

Having spent most of 2014 on the road vitalizing audiences with no-nonsense post-punk and the feverishly observational testifying of singer/guitarist Tim Darcy (who officially changed his name from Tim Beeler this year), Ought settled into a long harsh Montreal winter hibernation, spending 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 maintains 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 (sounding, as often as not, like a second guitar). Ought pursue an artistically apposite austerity in committing these new songs to tape, no-wave and early indie rock while balancing carved-out angularity  It makes for an album that’s consistently, insistently propulsive but also feels unhurried and pleasantly unhyped. Songs like “Beautiful Blue Sky” (already a fan favorite from live shows) and “Never Better” unfold with gradual and deliberate ebb and flow, where scratchy guitars play like dappled shards of light on gently roiling waves of bass and organ; “The Combo” and “Celebration” keep things crisp and concise. Darcy’s voice and lyrics continue to distinguish and define the personality of the band: his blend of ironic detachment, fragmentary stammering poetics, and the occasional direct aside to the listener,
Sun Coming Down confirms the distinctive vitality of this band; Ought The band’s steady and subtle charms don’t make them the cool kids or the iconoclastic freaks – just a satisfyingly unrefined and substantive rock band that eschews indulgence or aesthetic band wagoneering to seek a humble, thoughtful corner from which to articulate a position within and contribute meaningfully to a 40-year continuum of indie, punk and DIY tradition.