Ought – ‘Sun Coming Down’ album review

'Normal' guitar band with extravagant bloody-mindedness


Montreal’s Ought are the closet their city’s iconic Constellation Records has come to signing a ‘normal’ guitar band – but they share their label’s extravagant bloody-mindedness. Wildly-praised 2013 debut ‘Today More than Any Other Day’ and last year’s excellent ‘Once More with Feeling’ EP weren’t exactly easy listening, but Ought’s heavy, snarling take on post-punk contained moments of explosive exhilaration, and even the odd ballad.

‘Sun Coming Down’ offers no such olive branch: opener ‘Men for Miles’ sounds like Mark E Smith being bludgeoned to death with several very heavy guitars and there’s not much respite over the record’s eight sludgy songs. But give it time and patience and beauty emerges from the chaos.

Shimmeringly heavy centrepiece ‘Beautiful Blue Sky’ is a remarkable piece of music, like some sublime union of Talking Heads and Shellac, while Tim Beeler’s ferociously growled lyrics are endlessly fascinating. ‘This is the high watermark of civilization’ he snarls on ‘Never Better’, and I’m not going to be the one who argues with him.