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It's no surprise that Sun Coming Down is capped at a gracious eight songs. Last year's More Than Any Other Day was a similar length, but its styles and moments of bliss were more hard-earned; particularly on the phenomenal climax of 'Today More Than Any Other Day' where singer/guitarist Tim Darcy celebrated decisions as trivial as which kind of milk to buy. Now, he's confident after the fact with a resounding "Yes!" on centerpiece 'Beautiful Blue Sky'. His words embrace the undeniable joy that comes from nature with "light coming down over your shoulders/saying 'What is that sensation?'" Layers of squelching guitars and an ever-opening hi-hat herald a chorus where a million people attempt to distract him: "How's the family?" "How's the church?" "How's the job?" "Fancy seeing you here!" Darcy rattles off each line with several repeats, and I contemplate whether he's lamenting perfunctory conversation or embracing it as he concedes that he is "no longer afraid to die, cause that is all that I have left." Ought fill out an extra two minutes of 'Blue Sky' with a peaceful midrange feedback that acts as a sedative to all the excitement, completing a full cycle of life, death, mania, and acceptance in a single song.

In the meandering 'Passionate Turn', Darcy admits that he's given up love in a shy, drooping voice. But, his major guitar parts are always there to literally and metaphorically pull him up from sadness. His emotions are present throughout Ought's music, but 'Turn' encapsulates them all. There's a foreboding reality at arm's length that's often heralded by foggy keyboard tones that beef out the instrumental. No matter, Darcy perseveres to accept his bewildered optimism about adulthood with open eyes and intention. "I'm looking for something to cover my scars/it's a little bit strange," he brightly sings on 'The Combo'. The forces of interaction and relationships can't stop his jubilation no matter how chaotic the crashing rhythms of life become.

The drums end up making the most concerted effort to muss up the mood on 'Sun's Coming Down'. Here, it's harder than ever discern the words. They're swallowed by two-and-a-half minutes of a pulverizing beat in 5/8 time, with obtuse and mesmerizing accents on the bass drum. This musical effect translates Darcy's energy, breaking for less than a minute before the drums counter with another cacophonous pulse in 6/8. Ought effectively out-geeked me with this track. I was unsure of what made it rhythmically stick for several listens, instead becoming absorbed by the world the band has created where post hardcore, lyricism, and emotional affect work seamlessly together to create a sum greater than its parts. It also occurs on opener and single 'Men For Miles'. For weeks I was convinced that the lyrics were "It doesn't adjust/bring a tear to your eye." Realizing that it was actually 'Doesn't it just' had me casually laughing about the simple ways in which the song conveys complex emotion as Darcy fumbles over his prose in a kaleidoscope of vowels.

'On the Line' has more oddball lyricism and imagery with some awesome synth triplets sung over "Ave Maria, I am your dog/and in the dead of night/I'll be your man inside." He'd previously mentioned that he had given up on love, but Darcy's words are nothing if not dichotomous. The music is representative of a duality that's difficult to find among Ought's contemporaries. He is dancing on 'Beautiful Blue Sky' because he is no longer afraid of judgment in the face of death. He's not attempting to escape with the music. He's more of an explorer that took on the challenge of true peace with MTAOD, and Sun Coming Down is what he's learning on the way. If the question remained of what it is Darcy is coming to terms with, the answer now is within reach.

It feels trite to consider writing about Ought with the intrusion of comparison. They latched on to some specific element of post-modern rock and dove in deep enough to effectively eliminate what or why this is the result. The landscapes created are so deep, I'm able to fend off the nagging questions that so often ask "where did this come from, and why is it worth making such a ruckus over?" Sun Coming Down is what it is. A lot of cavernous records like this don't allow for much of a gut experience, but Ought chocked that too, and made this record palatable and even mosh pit-ready at times. Sun Coming Down already feels like a cult classic and an institution that embraces a thousand sides of the punk rock coin while retaining a steadfast originality.

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