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Death Cab For Cutie - Codes And Keys

Chris Hidden
Chris Hidden 30 May 2011 at 09.00

Death Cab For Cutie - Codes And Keys Cover

The sound of a band revitalised, re-inspired and highly evolved...

On their sixth studio album, 08’s ‘Narrow Stairs’, there was a danger things were getting comfortable for Death Cab For Cutie. Through the band’s lengthy career songwriter Ben Gibbard had honed a formulae that allowed him to easily craft that album’s 11 songs with trademark twinkling melody and angular wrap-around guitars. It was a good album but it was safe. Were Death Cab now a career band destined to release, more-or-less, the same record every few years? The answer on ‘Codes And Keys’ is a resounding no. Right from the experimental, near-glitch-pop sound of opening track ‘Home Is A Fire’ DCFC are a band experimenting with a whole new palate of sounds. From the use of a full string section on ‘Codes And Keys’ and the Brian Eno-esque soundscapes of ‘Unobstructed Views’ to the Joy Division-ish brooding intensity of ‘Doors Unlocked And Open’, this is a real departure but it works. Even the more familiar-sounding upbeat melodies of ‘Monday Morning’ and ‘Underneath The Sycamore’, with the guitars turned down and the synths tuned up, are here couched in a more exploratory musical context. Throw in the stunning power and clarity of Alan Moulder’s mix and you have the sound of a band revitalised, re-inspired and highly evolved.

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