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Once More with Feeling


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Performer Notes
  • Montreal-based art rockers Ought delivered their ecstatic debut, More Than Any Other Day, in the spring of 2014 and followed just months later with this four-song EP, Once More with Feeling..., in the fall of the same year. The album was a tightly coiled collection of sometimes noisy, always jubilant tunes with influences going back to the best college rock standouts of several generations. The band drew on influence from Talking Heads, the Feelies, the dour melodicism of early New Zealand pop groups, and even some of the sentimental urgency of '90s Midwestern emo groups like Cap'n Jazz. About half the length of its LP predecessor, Once More with Feeling... is equally as strong in its material, though perhaps a little more experimental and unrefined in parts. Highlights are found in the first half of the set with low-key opener "Pill" and the bounding groove of "New Calm, Pt. 2." Both songs find singer Tim Beeler expressing his inner David Byrne, but where "Pill" lingers in woozy, narcotic sleepiness, "New Calm, Pt. 2" crackles with energy and fun. Beeler proclaims "I love this one!" before the band kicks into a repetitive explosion as a backdrop for his sometimes spoken lyrics and wordless hollering. As well as the aforementioned Byrne-isms, the song has the same ungrounded danger as the Fall and hints of the type of self-aware humor that made LCD Soundsystem special. "New Calm, Pt. 3" is a noisy, feedback-heavy throwaway track, but the band returns to form with the New Order-y closing track "Waiting." Though brief and not quite as immediately likable as the debut, Once More with Feeling... offers even more to love from a promising band relatively fresh into its existence. The energy and spark that Ought base their sound on carries much in common with the best of their influences, finding new ways to sound fresh and exciting even in this short sampling. ~ Fred Thomas
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