Ought – ‘More Than Any Other Day’
By: Michael Chung
Ought is making waves. Huge waves. Since its first heartbeat in 2011, when members Tim Beeler (singer/guitarist), Ben Stidworthy (bassist), Matt May (keyboardist) and Tim Keen (drummer/violinist) first convened in an apartment loft, this post-punk quartet has seen plenty of action about their communal living space… and the Montreal music scene at large.
Gritty and visceral, Ought reflects the tumultuousness of the city’s current sociopolitical landscape, initially ignited by the student-led anti-tuition-hike protests of 2012 and the worldwide Occupy Movement of the same year. Following the release of their massively successful debut album More Than Any Other Day in the spring of 2014, the denizens of Ought are still riding their apex of critical acclaim, one they reached in the second half of last year at a meteoric rate, perhaps unwittingly, in the midst of a world tour.
More Than Any Other Day is a watershed in post-punk. It’s intended to be art-rock in its most genuine form… and it is. The album is imbued with brutal honesty, tinged with the angst of a twenty-something, and politically charged enough to raise the hairs off one’s neck into tiny fists. Tim Beeler’s swashbuckling wordplay and the jagged rhythmic phrases hashed out by his band are incentives powerful enough to leave listeners ready to empathize, if not deeply sympathize, with the practical and existential struggles of an entire generation of youth.
The melodic and tonal passages of the vocals are fresh and captivating – oscillating transitions of singing and spoken-word often in aperiodic schemes. In combination with the interspersing of various instrumental tracts cement the album’s pervasive, sprawling and yes, epic, quality.
It’s difficult, and perhaps unfair in this case, to decide which songs in the album are the strongest. Although all share a common arc, each track has a different reason for existing. Some are on celebrations of everyday life, others are marginally introspective, some are laden with complex allegories, and still others are the cathartic decrying of the excessive lifestyle and social stratifications. Though, Today More Than Any Other Day is an obvious lightning rod – it’s a fun and quirky song, with some seriously catchy hooks, that happens to boast a truly profound message.
More Than Any Other Day comes in with a collective mission. And More Than Any Other Day comes out swinging.
Stream Habit and The Weather Song off Constellation Records right here: http://cstrecords.com/cst103/