Review Summary: For those who prefer vanillaMore Than Any Other Day
would fit just as comfortably in Television’s discography as it does in Montreal natives Ought's. In fact, parts of the album sound like stolen outtakes from the Marquee Moon
sessions. Opener Pleasant Heart
sounds like Tom Verlaine fronting Modest Mouse ala Lonesome Crowded West
. The spastic yet catchy lead guitar line and jagged rhythm section provides the perfect tonal backdrop for the passionate vocals, which sound like David Byrne if he was brought up on American Football and Cap’n Jazz. The Weather Song
is a more tame version of something off The World is a Beautiful…’s last release, Clarity!
recalls Pavement cirque Wowee Zowee
, and closer Gemini
sounds like At the Drive-In if they had chosen to stay true to the sound they explored on In/Casino/Out
And that is precisely why More Than Any Other Day
fails to truly standout. Instead of paying homage to the group’s influences, the band replicates them completely, sacrificing a sense of identity and originality for accessibility. And when the band tries to find its own footing in creating a sound that is “unique”, they fall flat on their face.
The semi-title track starts completely banal and consists of deadpan vocal work until halfway through, when the band decides to awkwardly transition into a more fast-paced second half. Unfortunately, by that point, it is already too late. The song has hit an iceberg, sinking at an exponential rate and completely submerged by the time it attempts to salvage itself. Habit
never goes anywhere despite a five-minute build up. Forgiveness
, while not as blatantly deceiving as Habit
, does nothing to attempt to hold the listener’s attention.
When More Than Any Other Day
hits its mark, it hits it hard, creating a sound that, while not original, resonates with the listener. It’s a shame that the highlights on this album are completely insulated by the more prevalent bland instrumentation and poor song structure; Ought would have been better off cutting away the album’s fat and opting instead to release a solid four song EP.
If anything, More Than Any Other Day
does what a debut should do: it identifies the band’s strengths and weaknesses and provides room for growth. And while I’m sure the room to improve may be larger than what the band or us as listeners would have anticipated or hoped for, Ought proves that they have the potential to fill it.