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05-07-2014, 10:11 AM

A new album that I’m enjoying. Could be coincidence that I’ve been listening to Talking Heads - Fear of Music and also digging this new album by Ought - More Than Any Other Day. There’s a track ‘Habit’ on MTAOD that Talking Heads could be proud of if they were still making great music. Maybe sprinkle in a touch of the Pixies on that one.

I see ‘post-punk’ attached to the band. I’m not entirely sure what post-punk is supposed to mean. But here’s a few snips of what others say.

Pitchfork “ It’s an anxious, distressed record to be sure—brimming with feelings of disaffection and dislocation—but it presents itself as such simply to show you how that nervous energy can be put to more positive, constructive use.”

Drowned in Sound “But here’s the payoff: although Ought meld proto-hipster touchstones like Richard Hell, the Modern Lovers, Shellac and Talking Heads, they completely reject snideness. In fact, it all translates with such empathy and euphoria as to suggest something subversive to modern indie, that hipness isn’t a quality to patronise or covet, and that maybe our resistance to being pigeonholeable or passé is precisely why we’re so confused and lonely.” << sounds like you could write a thesis figuring out what this is supposed to mean.

Clash “this is music that’s made to make a difference, or else turn in ever-decreasing circles until it consumes itself. It has too much fire to not either spread or self-combust entirely.” << a bit of an oversell.

On the other hand, Sputnik hated it
Sputnik “More Than Any Other Day would fit just as comfortably in Television’s discography as it does in Montreal natives Ought's. In fact, parts of the album sound like stolen outtakes from the Marquee Moon sessions. Opener Pleasant Heart sounds like Tom Verlaine fronting Modest Mouse ala Lonesome Crowded West. The spastic yet catchy lead guitar line and jagged rhythm section provides the perfect tonal backdrop for the passionate vocals, which sound like David Byrne if he was brought up on American Football and Cap’n Jazz. The Weather Song is a more tame version of something off The World is a Beautiful…’s last release, Clarity! recalls Pavement cirque Wowee Zowee, and closer Gemini sounds like At the Drive-In if they had chosen to stay true to the sound they explored on In/Casino/Out.”

Pitchfork, on the other hand, loved it.
“But more so than any identifiable influence, More Than Any Other Day is ultimately defined by its unsettled, restless spirit; this is an album that treats panic attacks and adrenalized ecstasy as two sides of the same pounding heart, with its simultaneous transmissions of joy and fear, discipline and chaos, comedy and tragedy. As Beeler spells it out in the album’s thrillingly combustible closer, “Gemini”: “I retain the right to be disgusted by life/ I retain the right to be in love with everything in sight.” Though born of a highly politicized protest movement, Ought aren’t telling you what to do with your life. They just want to make sure you live it.”

I like the spirit, the humor even in the album. One of the few things I’ve listened to that I’ve put on repeat. There’s several really good tracks. The aforementioned ‘Habit’ and the nearly title track “Today More Than Any Other Day”.
The album captures a lot of what I’ve liked of other more avant garde acts like the Pixies (brashness), Talking Heads (quirk and honesty), Modest Mouse vocal, jangle)…Velvet Underground (drone) ,Violent Femmes (humor, loneliness). What I hope is that the blend of anxiety and sincerity and love of life sets them apart.
It’s a debut and by that standard its a great debut.

05-07-2014, 12:35 PM