Ought return with Room Inside the World

Room Inside the WorldOught are miles beyond making the decision between 2% and whole milk. More than Any Other Day was the first time we got up close and personal with Tim Beeler [sic] in the dairy dept. Before that, their 2012 debut EP, New Calm, met instant recognition and validation from Constellation Records. Both efforts ignited spontaneously, catching fire with the rest of the blogosphere. Rapturous gumption and the unmistakable zest for preaching life’s anxieties hoisted the band up on a post-punk pedestal, where positing death as an existential freedom, not a threat, became a regular occurrence. Darcy’s Byrne mannerisms and savvy dance fits also remained intact.

Sun Coming Down continued to pivot in the direction of jangly, art punk freneticism, with whacky refrains that shook a fist at monotony. Ahem… “Beautiful weather today, Beautiful weather today, Beautiful weather today, Beautiful weather today, How’s the family?, How’s the family?, How’s the family?, How’s the family?” Darcy carried on like a frantic poet, and the band kept up with an unhinged playbook, with the only resolution being to accept one’s own mortality.

It wasn’t until recently, that I wholly believed Tim Beeler Darcy. The tongue-in-cheek lyricism is here to stay, but it no longer feels weightless or though it’s running in place. The duality of lyrics like “I was like a dentist, ruining for pain,” and “I must remember to dance with you tonight,” or “I must remember, I own my own heart,” are divergent and stark, yet naturally occurring phases of toying with sadism, empathy, retreat, solipsism, regret, and so forth. These shifts in behaviour are equidistant to growth and development of the human heart.


Room Inside the World is Ought’s proverbial oyster, curtailing their cacophonous sound and loud epiphanies, and replacing them with careful structure, a clinically paced palette of sounds, and incisive lyrics that are cynical, depressing, hypnotic, chaotic, cleansing and liberating at once. There is symmetry between the music and lyrics, where it’s discordant one minute and blissful the next. “Demarcation” is clearly a fixture on the album, meant as a gentle reminder that boundaries exist, even when we’re blindfolded, spun around, and asked to bust some shit wide open in the name of fun.

“Disgraced in America” touches on a common sentiment, with an undercurrent of dread and anxiety that seem to be ever-present now, but all is forgotten when Darcy delivers the understatement of the century, “Yeah, I was discouraged in America,” with an exaggerated and ghoulish intonation. “Desire” comes in at the halfway mark and ties everything together, with an understated 70-piece choir, and it’s all over when he says, “Ah, c’mon,” with an uncommonly profound delivery in such a simple phrase.

Recorded at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn with producer Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Silver Jews), Room Inside the World is a first for Merge Records, but it’s Ought’s third, most concentrated and evenly paced commitment. Undiluted, it offers the rare opportunity for you to unplug your mind, dislocate, and engage with the rest of the world.

Release: 16th February 2018, Merge Records


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    1. Ought return with Room Inside the World – Live List - 15/02/2018

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