5. British Sea Power - Open Season
The sophomore follow up to their debut, The Decline of British Sea Power, this was one of the most anticipated albums of the year for me. Their first album was one of my top albums of 2003, so I looked forward to this one quite a lot. Given it's placement on this list, it obviously didn't disappoint me.
While I loved their first album, it was at times inconsistent, especially in the production value. Open Season suffered none of the same problems. While it lost a bit of the raw edge of the first album, by smoothing down the sharp corners, they achieved a much fuller sound. Many of the albums on this list hearken back to the 80s in their sound. We've had band compared to Gang of Four, Joy Division, and the Cure, among others. British Sea Power use a bit of this sound as well, but their sound recalls Echo & the Bunnymen at their height (for those of you that know me, you know that is a high compliment indeed).
The album has a number of outstanding tracks, including the opener "It Ended on an Oily Stage," and the anthemic "Please Stand Up." (A backwards homage to James perhaps?) My favorite track on the album, however, is "Oh Larsen B," which can only be described as a love song to an iceberg. All this together puts Open Season in my top 5.
It didn't hurt that it was my favorite show of the year.
I know I'm a day behind here (due to unforeseen parental computer problems). I'll catch up tomorrow with numbers 3 and 4.
NP: "Oh Larsen B" - British Sea Power