Album Review: Ought – Sun Coming Down

By Donavan Burtan

Ought could have been in trouble with Sun Coming Down.  It may sound a bit ridiculous, however, it is very hard to create a great second album when your first is as brilliant as More than Any Other Day.  Bands work on their first album from day one.  They begin playing together, they play some shows, commit to a certain aesthetic, and create their first work.  Sometimes it’s good sometimes it is a bit immature. Generally it’s not perfect and there’s a logical growth that the band can see and attempt to execute.  More Than Any Other Day is incredible, but somehow Ought found a way to grow without losing their heart.

It’s important to consider album covers.  Artists take advantage of every opportunity to improve their pieces so it is important to think about the cover and how it relates to the music itself; the artistic choices might be enlightened by this visual representation of the sound aesthetic.  The biggest difference between the cover for More than Any Other Day and Sun Coming Down is color and it makes perfect sense.  Sun Coming Down is bright and it sometimes approaches happy-sounding whereas, More Than Any Other Day obtains a much darker aesthetic.  The chorus of the song Passionate Turn is just glorious.  It has that classic Ought energy building feel to it but, instead of culminating in an anger driven chorus, it crashes into this beautiful vocal melody and the lyrics bring this innocence into the song. “I don’t know why do I become when I hang my head and cry out.”  Tim Darcy just doesn’t know anymore. It’s introspective.  This new colorful sound is a brilliant example of growth because it doesn’t try to outdo the old Ought it’s just a slightly different approach.

Ought must have struggled maintaining their sound in the second album.  Part of their appeal is the loose, unrefined punk sound they bring to the table and as you get older and more musically practiced as a band it can be tough to stay young and fresh.  The song Celebration really helps harken back to More Than Any Other Day.  It’s fast, bombastic, and it doesn’t care what you think.  Tim Darcy’s lyrics are short and simple and they are perfectly complimented by his obscure guitar melody.  It starts fast and ends fast with an especially noticeable increase in attitude culminating in Darcy’s classic repetitive yelling technique.  Growth is the most important feature in new music releases, however, there is certainly something to be said about sticking to your roots. Ought has displayed both of these ideas on Sun Coming Down.

It seems like Ought has struck gold again.  The album is great and it really lives up to the expectations left by their first album.