Ought – Tickets – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA – April 7th, 2018
Cold Specks, Katie von Schleicher
Sat, April 7, 2018
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pmThe Sinclair
This event is 18 and over
The Sinclair is general admission standing room only. Tickets available at AXS.COM, or by phone at 855-482-2090. No service charge on tickets purchased in person at The Sinclair Box office Wednesdays-Saturdays 12-7PM.https://www.sinclaircambridge.com/event/1587222/
Based in Montreal, Ought are a thrilling and adventurous quartet, delivering an earnest and exuberant post-punk: dextrous and exacting while bursting with propulsive and fluid energy, as indebted to Cap’n Jazz as to Talking Heads. The band shifts adeptly from sharp angles and stuttering counterpoint to softer edges and chiming flow, the instrumental interplay consistently whipsmart, supple and deceptively simple. Guitarist and vocalist Tim Darcy’s declarative, observational style ranges from stately, composed oratory to ragged, impassioned yelp, by turns wide-eyed and worried, but never submitting to cool irony or emotional detachment.
Their new album, Sun Coming Down, maintains the band’s tight, twitchy and economical sound, with the unfussy, understated rhythm section of drummer Tim Keen and bassist Ben Stidworthy anchoring Tim Darcy’s electric guitar and Matt May’s fuzzed-out keys (sounding, as often as not, like a second guitar). Ought pursue an artistically apposite austerity in committing these new songs to tape, referencing the arid and unvarnished production of no-wave and early indie rock while balancing carved-out angularity against an evolving comfort with textural coalescences and measured pacing. It makes for an album that’s consistently, insistently propulsive but also feels unhurried and pleasantly unhyped. Songs like “Beautiful Blue Sky” (already a fan favorite from live shows) and “Never Better” unfold with gradual and deliberate ebb and flow, where scratchy guitars play like dappled shards of light on gently roiling waves of bass and organ; “The Combo” and “Celebration” keep things crisp and concise. Darcy’s voice and lyrics continue to distinguish and define the personality of the band: his blend of ironic detachment, declarative insistence, fragmentary stammering poetics, and the occasional direct aside to the listener, finds various ways to weave within or drive through the mixes.
Sun Coming Down confirms the distinctive vitality and purposive naturalism of this band; Ought resists facile primitivism and overhyped dynamics in equal measure, keeping things hermetic but never airless, ascetic but never dispassionate, literate but never prolix. The band’s steady and subtle charms don’t make them the cool kids or the iconoclastic freaks - just a satisfyingly unrefined and substantive rock band that eschews indulgence or aesthetic bandwagoneering to seek a humble, thoughtful corner from which to articulate a position within and contribute meaningfully to a 40-year continuum of indie, punk and DIY tradition.
Like waves thrashing in a chaotic sea in the middle of nowhere, Fool's Paradise encapsulates the naturalness of existing during difficult times. We find Ladan rejoicing the survival of those she loves while mourning for the sorrow that continues to linger after it has beckoned its doom. Far gentler than her electrifying sophomore Neuroplasticity and her midnight debut I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, Cold Specks has honed her artistic agency and has invited you to bear witness.
Conjuring the home recorded sound of Paul McCartney’s McCartney or Jeff Buckley’s Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, Shitty Hits was created on a tape machine at Von Schleicher’s childhood home in Maryland. Where Bleaksploitation courted a kind of sonic nihilism, Shitty Hits shows confidence, growth and unflinching self-realization. Inhabiting the roles of producer and engineer, Von Schleicher cements her voice as one to be reckoned with, parsed and pored over, on an album that is “never less than beguiling” (Pitchfork).
52 Church St
Cambridge, MA, 02138