Best Album of 2015

Pleasure to Meet You – Dead Sara

Picking Album of the Year came as a challenge this year. I heard a lot of good stuff, but a lot of it didn’t strike me as the best thing I heard during 2015. I finally narrowed it down between this one and Refused’s Freedom, which is a stellar album. But I had to give it Dead Sara’s second LP.

The band cranked everything up for their second outing making it harder, faster, and better than before. Not only did they keep their garage rock roots in check, they also tossed in some pop, soul, and blues to shake things up. Revisiting the album left me floored by how amazing all the songs are. It also reminded what an insanely good singer Emily Armstrong is. I fell in love with it when I first saw the band live in 2013, but her vocals are even stronger now. Something about her raspy voice have such a power behind them. She can go soft and downright heartbreaking on tracks like “For You I Am” and fucking rough and howling on songs “Lovesick” and “Blue Was Beautiful You.”

The songs themselves range from kick ass to leaving you in tears. So many of them are upbeat and energetic they’ll get you jumping up and down even if no one else is around. I honestly forgot how many of the tracks I loved that just punched you straight in the gut. And the closing track is a powerhouse as I mentioned before. It sounds like Armstrong is taking you to church; she sounds near tears by the end and it’ll leave you stunned when the final note rings out.

Most bands struggle with their sophomore releases due to expectations. Do they stay the same or change and risk losing their audience? Dead Sara found a comfortable balance between the two. This is everything a good second album should be. It takes all the things that made the first album great and makes them better. It also doesn’t abandon their hard rock sound, but rather expand upon it ensuring the songs never sound too familiar. Not only does this make it the most exciting, hard rocking, kick ass album I heard this year, it’s also underrated. It got pretty good reviews, but not enough people paid attention to this album.

I heard a lot of good new music this year, but nothing else shook me, excited me, and struck a chord with me like this album. They stayed true to their sound, yet tweaked just enough to make sure the album never grew dull or familiar. It’s better than their debut in every way and makes me excited to hear what they do next.

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