In the midst of an experimental punk revival, I’m kinda of surprised that more bands like Ought don’t exist. Ought is a Canadian post-punk group that combine the frantic nerdiness of Talking Heads, noisy dissonance of Shellac, hyper vocal delivery of The Dismemberment Plan, and lyrical prowess of Titus Andronicus all into one fascinating group. On their debut album “More Than Any Other Day,” Ought comes off sounding like an amalgamation of several years of punk rock evolution that includes several decades of experimental tape manipulation and industrial soundscapes. The eight tracks on this album demonstrate an appreciation and emulation of classic punk figures, but also an optimistic look into the future. Ought is very forward thinking while also taking influence into account, not unlike groups such as Savages, Perfect Pussy, and Fucked Up.
“More Than Any Other Day” is not a typical or easy punk record. The songs are fairly lengthy, the vocals are not always entirely strong, and the lyrics and musicality tend to be confusing. Even I was unsure how I felt about the music when I first listened to the album. Needless to say, however, that I have since grown to love the music on here. The songs are memorable and incredibly well written. They go through phases and movements not usually found on punk albums. If anything, “More Than Any Other Day” is about as un-punk as a punk album could get. It’s calculated, spacious, and not very straightforward. Ought takes quite a bit into account, it seems, throughout the album’s duration.
From the first cluttered guitar riff to the closing notes, Ought prove themselves capable of deviating from the norm while still writing catchy songs. I find myself silently reciting lyrics to songs like “Today, More Than Any Other Day” and “Around Again” to the point where both songs will probably remain in rotation even if I stop listening to the rest of the album. The members of Ought know how to write energetic songs, but they also know how to keep the audience interested for 47 minutes. Ought is not a run-of-the-mill band; they are a group with the wherewithal to release a modern day punk masterpiece. “More Than Any Other Day” is messy and confusing at some points, but for the most part it is a strong debut that shows off their skills as a band that can work together to craft some killer tunes.
1. Pleasant Heart
2. Today, More Than Any Other Day
4. The Weather Song
6. Around Again