7 - Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs

Narrow Stairs was Death Cab For Cutie's second major label release after leaving Barsuk in 2004. The band managed to retain their creative direction in the move to Atlantic, and found that the reach of 2005's Plans had grown tremendously, with continental Europe and Australia falling in thrall to the Washington band's emotive, confessional lyrics. The band revealed in pre-release interviews that the forthcoming record would have a “more dissonant and abrasive” sound, and frequently referred to synth-punks Brainiac as a driving influence.

Lead single “I Will Possess Your Heart” has a bold four and a half minute instrumental opening, led by a bass growl that reveals the threat of the title lyric. It was a sign of the album to come. Much darker in tone and closer to the spacious sonics of Transatlanticism, fans saw in Gibbard's lyrics an older, worldly view, that confronted the less comforting aspects of romance, and though he still celebrated love the new songs seemed to acknowledge more of its power to hurt and upset. They close the year on tour, and will announce their plans for 2009 soon.

Play Narrow Stairs Next on Last.fm Best Of 2008 At number 6, these Kinks fans are exactly where they need to be