Ought "Room Inside the World" Album Review

by Sophie Pay

Ought "Room Inside the World" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Ought "Room Inside the World" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Ought is back and better than ever on their newest album, Room Inside the World. Released under a new label, Merge Records, Ought takes their music to an even deeper emotional and complex place on this new album. Lead singer Tim Darcy’s voice has evolved and gained more weight to complement the heavy bassline and jolting drums. This album differs so much from their past two releases, which were notably heavy post-punk albums, full of angst. Room Inside the World explores the importance of survival in a world where people are trying to find their true identity and sense of belonging. The album depicts a lost soul trying to find their way on a day to day basis.

On the single, “These 3 Things”, Ought conveys the events that cause life to be problematic. When Darcy sings, “Will I hear my soul?” repeatedly, it is accompanied by an array of synths that rise and create a sense of his urgency. The music video displays the differences between life as a mannequin and that of a human, to show how the human element changes everything with the use of very strange and random objects. Everything goes perfectly well for the mannequin, but it all goes wrong for the human.

The song, “Desire” creates a sense of wanting to belong in the world, although trapped in a sea of darkness. It sets a perfect tone with a mix of a smooth bassline, jangly drums, and synths. Darcy sings “Desire, desire” in an almost crying out tone, while accompanied by a chorus singing “Never gonna stay” in return. The track, “Brief Shield” marks a pivotal turning point in the album as the tempo slows down, Darcy’s vocals lighten up a bit, and the guitar has a clean sound. The song “Take Everything” resonates with your inner feelings, the lyrics, “You’re tucked away/ When you need to set out and meet it/ And the fright of the friction/ And the soul's indecision/ Keeps you at bay”, showing a person battling with themself.

The closing track, “Alice”, is a haunting conclusion to the album. With Darcy’s voice continually echoing for the remainder of the song at the two minute mark, the drums and synths slowly disappear into the abyss. With the song, “These 3 Things” alluding to machinery and its faults, “Alice” also references it through the lyrics, “Moment and flowing through it/ Motor and churning to it/ Didn't notice for a while/ Didn’t notice for a very long time”.

On Room Inside the World, the band was able to experiment with their music and take it to a deeper level. This album leaves you yearning for more answers about life, and more from Ought.

9/10 stars