Ought | Room Inside The World | Album Review
Record Label: Merge Records
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Released on Feb. 16, Room Inside the World is Ought’s third full-length album. Identified as a half-art-punk and half-post-punk band, this Canadian quartet’s album has a tranquil fusion of melancholy melodies and avant-garde lyrics. The lead singer, Tim Darcy, has a voice that slightly resembles a combination of Morrissey and the exploratory lyrics of David Bowie.
Room Inside the World’s frenzied instrumentation matches their abstract lyrics. The album is full of experimentation that has free-jazz elements like dissonant drum beats, polytonality with instruments, and mixtures of minor chords that allude to an 80s electronic sound.
This album covers a range of topics, from politics to Darcy’s personal life and experiences. In “Disgraced in America,” Darcy sings, “Crapping out tokens / And live in a haze / Build lights in the dungeons / And plumbing in the grave.” Darcy laments about our society, how people are working so hard for money, only to live in a crappy apartment that feels like a dungeon, working hard but only to reap the benefits of digging one’s own grave. That’s the American dream.
What’s different about this album from Ought’s two previous albums is that they’ve added in more instruments like a saxophone, clarinet, and even a full choir that shows up in their song, “Desire.” The additions on Room Inside A World show the listener that Ought isn’t afraid to experiment with their music and further their uncommon fusion of jazz, post-punk, and 80s electronic sound.