Ought Room Inside the World Merge
One of Ought’s many talents is their ability to expose the beauty and desperate meaning in the mundane. Therein lies life, after all. The sneer suggested in much of singer Tim Darcy’s voice always seemed a half-hearted attempt to hide sincerity. In the irresistible mantras of “I am excited to go grocery shopping” and “How’s the job? How’s the family? Beautiful weather today!” on Today More Than Any Other Day and Beautiful Blue Sky respectively, are the conflicted yelps of the living.
When the confessional chords and Darcy’s baroque baritone shimmy their way through your headphones on Room Inside the World’s opener Into the Sea, Ought do away with any pretence of irony. It serves to signpost the album’s musical direction too, boomeranging away from the jerky convulsions of 2015’s Sun Coming Down back toward the wooze that seeps through the art-rock band’s debut LP.
They haven’t completely smoothed their jagged edges: Disaffection and Pieces Wasted carry a motorik chill and angular bounce respectively, but they serve to accentuate the glow that permeates throughout. This warmth was hinted with lead single These 3 Things, evoking Metronomy’s The Look in its crisp incessancy. Nowhere is it more apparent than on the album’s centrepiece Desire: a close cousin of Sun Coming Down‘s Passionate Turn, wherein Darcy “hey hey”’s and “c’mon”’s his way through a forlorn ode to fading lust, sounding like Street Legal-era Dylan and backed by a 70-piece choir.
Conversely, on Take Everything, the band don’t so much channel The Smiths as heave Morrisey’s disgraced carcass from the wilderness and re-animate his younger form; and the eventual payoff (a guitar solo that recalls The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary) is unabashedly gratifying. Overall, Room Inside the World succeeds in progressing Ought’s sound with a collection of songs as beautiful and resonant as the best of the band’s work.