Having released one of last year’s best debut albums in the shape of More Than Any Other Day, Ought would have been forgiven for taking some time off to reflect on their burgeoning success and think about what direction to take next. Instead, a mere eighteen months has passed between that debut and the release of their second album, this week’s Sun Coming Down, and in the place of some rushed effort or pale facsimile of their debut, we have an album that magnifies the band’s qualities in almost every way.

This is a more expansive band, one that has found ways to sound simultaneously more tightly wound and more spacious. Sun Coming Down is an album on which songs regularly drift past the five-minute mark without ever sounding like they’re wasting anyone’s time. Indeed, opener “Men For Miles,” driven by some terrific drumming from Tim Keen, flies by faster than any five-and-a-half minute song you’ve ever heard. Ought has the confidence to dwell in a particular sound, knowing they have the chops to keep the listener hooked on a type of art rock that pulls in elements of soul, garage punk, and indie rock.

Preview Document

So it is that the languid tones of “Passionate Turn” can sit back to back with the knotted tension and frantic delivery of “The Combo” without anything seeming out of place. The latter, in particular, seems to squeeze two or three subtle mood changes into its brief duration while relying on the band’s airtight rhythm section, and it shows the band’s consistent ability to use its rock-solid foundation to explore the corners and edges of its sound.

At the middle of it all is Tim Beeler’s vocal, a versatile and unmistakable weapon that has the knack of outshining even the fantastic playing around it. He takes center stage on the album’s masterpiece, the near-eight-minute epic “Beautiful Blue Sky.” The band’s confidence has never been more evident than on this startling song, in which Beeler rails against the mundanity of modern life with strings of bland statements (“How’s the family? How’s the job? Beautiful weather today!”). The effect should be numbing and depressing, but instead the song feels like a defiant and uplifting stand against the tiny things that grind the majority down on a daily basis.

Sun Coming Down is that rare rock record whose occasional nods to its influences are obliterated in the wake of its thrilling immediacy and urgency. Ought has now released two albums worth of music that straddles the line between the cerebral and the purely physical, giving listeners a choice between sitting and dissecting or just riding the wave. Whichever you choose to do, there is enough detail and depth for Ought to be a band for the long haul, one whose continuing development is truly exciting in a world where guitar rock can feel moribund.

Ought Tour Dates:

09/30 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
10/01 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
10/02 – Brooklyn, NY – The Silent Barn
10/03 – Washington DC – Comet Ping Pong
10/05 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
10/08 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry
10/09 – Winnipeg, MB – The Good Will
10/10 – Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina
10/11 – Edmonton, AB – Up + Downtown Music Festival
10/12 – Calgary, AB – The Palomino Smokehouse & Social Club
10/14 – Vancouver, CA – Red Gate
10/15 – Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern
10/16 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar
10/18 – San Francisco, CA – Treasure Island Music Festival
10/19 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
10/20 – San Diego, CA – The Hideout
10/22 – Salt Lake City – Kilby Court
10/23 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
10/25 – St. Louis, MO – The Demo
10/26 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Café
10/27 – Chicago, IL – the Beat Kitchen
10/29 – Toronto, CA – Legendary Horseshoe Tavern

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