Codes and Keys – Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab is one of the few classic indie bands that has been around since the 90s and managed to not break up yet remain relevant. But that doesn’t mean everything is roses. Let’s face it- the last album, Narrow Stairs, was a borderline nightmare that I couldn’t make up my mind about. Old school Death Cab was nostalgic, unproduced small label fare, charming and catchy. After time the band matured into a vehicle for longing melancholy that elevated them to a timeless status. Then the last album spun the momentum completely around. What would be next?

Underneath The Sycamore
Underneath The Sycamore

Codes and Keys is very happy and upbeat, almost playful. This is more Postal Service and less 2nd generation Death Cab (you can tell I still miss the deep sadness of Transatlanticism and Plans). After two albums it is clear that we have entered a new generation of the group. Beats are lighter and faster and carry an electronic tinge, and Ben Gibbard’s voice is more filtered than ever before.

Quality and variety wise, Codes and Keys is overall better than Narrow Stairs, although ironically I feel it lacks the ‘killer tracks’ of Bixby Canyon Bridge and Grapevine Fires. This is ultimately a bigger crime. An array of technically orchestrated songs feels good as background music but it leaves the listener unfulfilled upon completion of the album. I had every intention of judging this the better of the two productions but after having trouble simply deciding which track to sample here, I realize just how forgettable Codes and Keys really is.

(Visited 73 times, 1 visits today)