At first glance, Ought’s new single “Beautiful Blue Sky” looks like the dreaded rat-tail of Florence + the Machine’s similarly-titled album. The Montreal post-punk four-piece are releasing their sophomore full-length, Sun Coming Down, on September 18th through Constellation Records. After adjusting to lead singer Tim Beeler’s odd voice (a deep, baseball announcer tone that falls somewhere between the slur of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and the abrasive scratch of Modest Mouse), their debut LP More Than Any Other Day shot to my top ten list, and based off this single, it looks like Sun Coming Down could soon do the same.
“Beautiful Blue Sky” begins with a curious bassline, slow and steady, before a distorted guitar clamors out a few trickling notes on its ends, and slides up the neck into the comfortable resolution of major notes. It may not be predictable, but the opening feels strangely familiar. It’s not their resemblance to The Fall, nor is it Beeler’s voice greeting us again. It’s the frustration of packed feelings and habitual stress. “Beautiful weather today. How’s the church? How’s the family?” Beeler sings over and over, spit hitting the microphone. “That’s all that we have. Just that, and the big beautiful blue sky.” The song holds its arms out like a traffic controller, backing up to make room for the echoes of loneliness bouncing around. They manage to avoid preaching in favor of motivational-meets-spiritual release when he comes to a forced acceptance: “I’m no longer afraid to die because that is all that I have left.”
For being just shy of eight minutes in length, “Beautiful Blue Sky” is devoured surprisingly quick. It stays on your tongue and, more lastingly, on your mind. Like any band with straightforward lyrics done in the right shade of ink, Ought leaves you drained the same way Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism or Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs do — wanting more of what you’ve been missing but only right then realized you have been lacking. Your heart is still beating too fast, but the music has slowed and you’re staring at whatever is in front of you, glossy-eyed with a mouth that has begun to go dry. They may be young, but Ought are remarkably in tune with the mental flavors of life, particularly the horrors of the mundane suburbia: the frigidity, the forced smiles, the bleak acknowledgement that it will never end.
Give it a listen below: