There are plenty of moments on Montreal post-punk quartet Ought's debut album, More Than Any Other Day, that betray their immediate influences. The jittery beats and breathless vocals of standout track "The Weather Song" have the same fresh-faced optimism of the Feelies or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah doing their best David Byrne impressions. Tunes like "Forgiveness" highlight drummer/violinist Tim Keen's droning violin textures and recall the rolling narratives of Lungfish or softer moments from experimental anarcho-punk acts like the Ex and Dog Faced Hermans. Elsewhere on the album, nods are made to mid-'90s literary emo groups like Cap'n Jazz and the Van Pelt, and the slithering vocals and motorik churn of "Around Again" call to mind an impossible jam session between Clinic and the Chills with Tom Verlaine on lead guitar. That's an incredible amount of reference points for one album, and if the songs were delivered without the level of conviction and combustible energy that the band puts forth, they might come off as simple derivative treacle. Instead of being a map of influences, however, More Than Any Other Day captures the same kind of energy as all of Ought's incredibly strong influences and funnels them into a collection of songs that effortlessly volleys from spiky political punk to lighthearted dancey pop that feels like the first day of spring. The frenetic energy of standout songs like "Habit" manages to do both, with vocalist Tim Beeler half-speaking, half-singing the lyrics with all the fervor of someone who's just figured everything out and wants to share his enlightenment with the world. On the whole, More Than Any Other Day is a deeply refreshing listen, bursting at the seams with joy and anger and less indebted to its long list of influences than it is an entity greater than the sum of its parts.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas