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, referencing the arid and unvarnished production of no-wave and early indie rock while balancing carved-out angularity against an evolving comfort with textural coalescences and measured pacing. 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, declarative insistence, fragmentary stammering poetics, and the occasional direct aside to the listener, finds various ways to weave within or drive through the mixes.
Sun Coming Down confirms the distinctive vitality and purposive naturalism of this band; Ought resists facile primitivism and overhyped dynamics in equal measure, keeping things hermetic but never airless, ascetic but never dispassionate, literate but never prolix. 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 bandwagoneering 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.
Thanks for listening.
1. Men For Miles
2. Passionate Turn
3. The Combo
4. Sun's Coming Down
5. Beautiful Blue Sky
7. On The Line
8. Never Better
Running time: 00:40:24
LP is pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket with full colour printed dust sleeve on thick uncoated paper, a 12"x20" pull-out poster, and a download card for 320 kbps MP3 copy of the album. Front cover artwork is a detail of the painting Men Of No Art by Chyrum Lambert.
CD comes in a custom gatefold jacket printed on thick 24pt. paperboard with a printed CD dust sleeve.
Ben Stidworthy: Bass
Tim Keen: Drums, Violin
Tim Darcy: Vocals, Guitar
Recorded by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh at Hotel2Tango in Montreal, QC. Mastered by Harris Newman at Greymarket.