Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part One

11. Ought
More Than Any Other Day

Having formed in the wake of the 2012 Quebec student protests, it's easy to analogize the youthful rebellion on the streets of Montreal with the raw energy and anxiety conveyed by Ought's music. It's also easy to run off a list of other musicians that have had an obvious impact on the band's sound: from the strangled vocals of the Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano to the jaunty art-rock of the Talking Heads to the much-copied loud-quiet-loud structure of a Pixies tune, there's no shortage of sonic comparisons.

And yet, More Than Any Other Day is far more refreshing and vibrant than it is derivative. Baby-faced frontman Tim Beeler delivers vocals with such urgency and angst that he demands the listener's attention, while the rest of the band manage to bring each song out of slow, sparse tension into explosions of melodic noise. Inaugural listens may leave charmed impressions of one-liners about an existential crisis in the milk aisle of the supermarket ("Today More Than Any Other Day"), but as you sink deeper into the eight-song set, there's a lot more bubbling under the surface. (Sarah Murphy)

Look for pop and rock albums 10-1 on Monday, December 8.