Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Death Cab- The Open Door EP

Death Cab for Cutie's "Narrow Stairs," the muscular, hook-filled follow-up to their major label debut, "Plans," was one of my favorite albums of 2008- and probably my most-listened. It is one of those albums that progresses in a positive musical direction without abandoning what made the band great in the first place.

"The Open Door," the new five-song EP from Death Cab, keeps the robust hooks and textured arrangements that made "Narrow Stairs" such a pleasure to listen to. While many EP's are just throwaway B-sides from an album, the four new tracks on "Door" sound just as strong, if not stronger, than any song off of "Stairs."

"Little Bribes" kicks the EP off with a jaunty march propelled by Jason McGerr's throbbing drums and Ben Gibbard's heart-on-sleeve lyrics. Gibbard is a very skilled songwriter, but his lyrics are usually only recognized on acoustic ballads like "I Will Follow You Into The Dark." On this EP, though, his lyrical ability is on full display, as are his signature lilting vocals. On "A Diamond and A Tether," Gibbard ruminates on his fear of relationships with lines like, "I've got this habit I abhor/ When we go out I'm always watching the door/ As if there's someone I'm gonna see who could outdo the things you could do to me," and "You can't hold out forever/ Waiting on a diamond and a tether/ From a boy who won't jump when he falls in love/ He just stands with his toes on the edge/ And he waits for it to disappear again." Gibbard continues to express anxiety over commitment on the aching, jagged "My Mirror Speaks." Above layers of chugging bass (courtesy of Nick Harmer) and Chris Walla's lushly arranged guitars, Gibbard delivers his lines with stinging lamentation. Death Cab is a traditionally melancholy band, so even their upbeat songs are coated in a Smiths-esque blanket of remorse. "I Was Once A Loyal Lover" epitomizes this with neurotic, diary-worthy lyrics washing over its buoyant sound. Closing out the EP is the ukulele-accompanied demo version of "Talking Bird." On "Stairs," "Talking Bird" was heavy and sluggish, but here it's charming and wistful.

"The Open Door" EP is a perfect follow-up to "Narrow Stairs," so much so that it feels more like an extension of the album than a collection of songs salvaged from the cutting room floor.

Favorite Line: "All my friends are forward thinking/ Getting hitched and quitting drinking." (from "I Was Once a Loyal Lover")

I Was Once A Loyal Lover- Death Cab for Cutie


1 comment:

Noah said...

really good! thanks for the burn