As the art-punk and post-punk theme seems to be getting more and more desirable in the music world, there has been an equal outburst of impressive bands. Montreal based band Ought have been dominating this scene since their debut album was released back in 2014, which most likely has to do with their take on the genre. For one, the band’s construction and expression of their music is incredibly fresh and crisp, which is ironic considering past attempts at this sort of sound. Not only that, but the quartet, especially vocalist Tim Beeler, sound wonderfully earnest and straightforward in what they are trying to convey, with an added emphasis on maintaining a sense of raw, pure energy at the same time.
From the first track “Pleasant Heart” and the harsh, yet strangely melodic repeated outbursts and frantic yelps makes clear that this sort of carnal energy runs rampant throughout the whole album. More Than Any Other Day explores a special kind of “emotion wheel,” meaning that every single one of their songs represents a sort of feeling, aiming directly for the heart and ignoring the head completely. “Pleasant Heart” and title track “More Than Any Other Day” are angry and complex on the surface, but then becomes more vulnerable and comically simplistic once Beeler counts off in the signature punk rock fashion. “The Weather Song” is perhaps the most whimsical, even though the lyrics say otherwise. “Around Again” incorporates a sense of funk while remaining true to it’s punk aesthetic by the lethargic yet passionate vocals. “Clarity!” goes hand in hand with this track – it sounds restless and nervous due to the true grit of it’s instrumentals – yet it sounds more aggressive due to Beeler’s drone. Closer “Gemini” is this incendiary closer that contemplates the two sides of a heart and the fact that you’re allowed to have bad days and absolutely hate everything around you as long as you embrace the good days and fall in love with the world when you are lucky enough to have them. The best track on the album, however, is the ballad “Habit.” It’s honest, explaining the relief of getting something off your chest and believing in something, and does so in such a simple construction. The way it fluctuates from a low point of contemplation to an altitude of passion and epiphany is absolutely stunning. Beeler’s voice is the most prominent here, easily and beautifully transitioning from spoken word to the high notes. The guitars and drums wait on his every word, and travel with him even when he travels up into the stratosphere on his ship of passion and frenzy.
The constant outburst of optimism throughout More Than Any Other Day is what makes this album a winner for me. Punk does tend to embrace the angry, dark side of things, but whenever it takes a walk on the sunny side lyrically and still maintains that hard edge musically, it becomes such an unstoppable force. Yes, there are times where they tell you their thoughts on the world, but then Beeler lets you know right away in the title track that “everything is going to be okay” and spends ample time providing that assurance.