The band's best work to date...
Will Lavin

14:34 31st May 2011

Considered one of emo music’s true originators, alongside the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Incubus, before the genre took a poppy turn and got a tad bit more emotional , Death Cab For Cutie are now deemed one of rock’s most innovative bands. How did this happen? Maturity, as well as some incredibly strong song writing, courtesy of lead vocalist Ben Gibbard, is how it happened. The band’s latest album, ‘Codes And Keys’, is a nod more towards the indie side of things – thought provoking lyrical content and slower instrumental delivery, and is definitely going to surprise a lot of people - fans and critics.

Standing out from the get go is the first single, ‘You Are A Tourist’, for which the band became the first group to ever broadcast the song’s accompanying music video as it was filmed, live and in one take. Not only was it a stroke of promotional genius, it smashed any preconceptions that music video creativity has a point at which it stops. While the video is artistically magical, the song itself is a work of art also. A strong first single, the catchy guitar riff combined with Gibbard’s touching vocals, which at times during the hook mirror the sound of chiming bells, top off an atmospherically stunning record. Immediately following it is ‘Unobstructed Views’, another track that feeds off of its delicate instrumentation. In fact, standing at over six minutes in length, for the first three minutes you’re actually treated to a beautifully calming ear-gasm. The piano is magnificent, sounding like something straight out of a Michel Gondry movie.

Other moments not to be missed include the band’s second single, ‘Home Is A Fire’, which could draw comparisons to perhaps Noah And The Whale meets the Magic Numbers, but with a speedier drum undertone, and the album’s final offering, ‘Stay Young, Go Dancing’. Switching styles, the electronic-tinged ‘Monday Morning’ is quite possibly the gold medal winner on this occasion. The carefree vocals about love of all things vintage and the Monday morning beginnings is somewhat a great (Monday) morning wake up record, while the deeply soothing ‘St. Peter’s Cathedral’ stands at the other end of the calendar, providing the soundtrack to latter part of the week.

The only moment that seems to staggers the US collective’s pursuit for the perfect record is the slightly whiny ‘Underneath The Sycamore’. While it’s not necessarily a bad record, it just seems to steer the album’s composed nature off course by being well... not so composed. It’s a less-than-calm throwback to their earlier work. Regardless, ‘Codes And Keys’ is quite possibly the band’s best work to date. If you’re a fan of their up-tempo dealings then it may be time to take a seat and educate yourselves on the new path in which they’ve chosen to take, and if you’re a new fan with an ear for those fantastic records that occasionally slip under the radar then you’ve found what you’re looking for.