Merge – February 16th

Montreal quartet Ought look upon post-punk as a limitless landscape. On their previous two records they’ve proven themselves as adept at scrunched-up song structures and balancing melody with discordance as any of their peers, but on third album, Room Inside the World, they do away with everything that isn’t unique to their particular band. In dialling up their idiosyncrasies, they’ve expanded the very horizons of the genre. Ought’s biggest gift is for making tropes you think you know inside out sound fresh as a daisy by taking the road less travelled whenever possible. The structure of these tunes, their lyrics, melodies, guitar lines and rhythms, on first listen, all are ever so slightly… off. Initially, the effect is peculiar and occasionally maddening. On second spin however, ideas that struck first as insanity reveal their hidden genius, and one can begin to fall in love with this fine LP.

There’s much beauty on display, not least the new found grandiosity on opener ‘Into the Sea’ and gentle semi-shoegaze of the closing ‘Alice’, but the disarmingly clean and sweet ‘Desire’ is the true standout. One of few tracks with a bona fide chorus, listen closely and you’ll even be able to make out a choir cooing in the background.

A versatile record suited to both poring over and allowing to drift by, Room Inside the World is full of surprises, and your appreciation of it will only grow as the shocks wear off. Now that’s clever.

Buy: Ought – Room Inside The World

Live: The Garage on April 24th