I think it’s safe to say that Ought basically reinvented art-punk, or at least, brilliantly resurrected it from where it began back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, where intellectualism and sophistication as well as the unrelenting, raw energy of unrest and strife combined to form a unique, often esoteric genre that placed a greater emphasis on artistic ambition and expression, to value the spoken word at the same level as musical sound. Their debut and sophomore albums More Than Any Other Day and Sun Coming Down express this tenfold, due to the nature of the band’s often times lucid, borderline improvisational instrumentals and the calculated poetry of frontman Tim Darcy’s lyrics and vocals. Today, the Montreal four-piece have announced the release of their third full-length album, titled Room Inside the World. The news comes with a stunning new single, noticeably different from the grit of their past repertoire, instead leaning towards the gorgeous instability and unpredictability of post-punk, complete with synth and dulcet orchestral tones. Darcy’s voice sounds different as well, more mellifluous and elastic than ever, only occasionally returning to the brooding, acerbic tone he emulated in their past work, the unique vocals that immediately and unmistakably identified them as Ought. However, despite the stark differences in tone, “These 3 Things” stays true to the feelings of suppressed turbulence and anxiety and instead sounds like a seamless progression for the band, an evolution that still thankfully takes advantage of their unique recording style – where it constantly sounds as if, through the separate energies of every component involved, that something large, potent, and powerful is brimming just underneath the surface, gaining energy, yet only to stay trapped, smoldering and hot to the touch, that tension more coveted and gorgeous than if it had burst.
Room Inside the World will be released on 2/16/18 via Merge Records.
photo courtesy of artist / merge records