#100: Hot Snakes – Jericho Sirens
Montreal’s Ought may be the poppiest band on Constellation Records, but this is a relative status; given the band’s predilection for building off of the discographies of Gang Of Four and The Fall, “pop” is probably not the first term to come to mind on a first listening of Sun Coming Down. Anyone familiar with last year’s More Than Any Other Day will find Sun Coming Down to work on the exact same pleasure centres: angular, nearly atonal guitar work, song forms that follow the tracks of a tidal ebb and flow rather than traditional verse-chorus structures, and Tim Beeler’s half-mad, half-Mark E Smith vocal delivery. It’s equal parts bliss and despair; as Beeler growls on “Beautiful Blue Sky”, “I’m no longer afraid to dance tonight / ‘Cause that is all that I have left”, marking out desperation and joy in equal measures.
Ought is about as classic post-punk as you can get these days. There are a million bands who want to be Joy Division but not many now that look at some of the other canonical bands: Gang of Four, Pere Ubu, Swell Maps, Mission of Burma, et al. Ought takes a more holistic approach to post-punk appropriation, chewing and rechewing their influences until they come out sounding like their own band, and a good one at that. If this year’s utterly awful Gang of Four record left you in tears, do yourself a favour and pick up Sun Coming Down, because it won’t steer you wrong.