US - Washington - Full Moon 110 - 09/18/05
Death Cab For Cutie
One might get tempted to say Death Cab For Cutie's last album Transatlanticism was some sort of a tedious flirtation to get signed to major company Atlantic. The plan succeeded and here's the Plans unveiled - their fifth album.
Ben Gibbard and co. have toned down their approach this time, sounding more polished but even more wide-open than ever. Because DCfC is all about pretty widescereened pop. Airy, emotional, sometimes fragile indie-pop with a soft punch. The songs Gibbard pens are gentle and mild melodies guided by lyrical love songs
for the sorrow-hearted, topped with his light vocals. His lyrics aren't of the usual, black'n'white love song stuff, rather than of a Technicolor and highly poetic level. Pretentious, sure, but it's arguably small literary statements from an indeed very clever word-smith. As he opens with "Marching Bands Of Manhattan":
"If I could open my arms and span the length of the isle of Manhattan / I'd bring it to where you are, making a lake of the East River and Hudson / If I could open my mouth wide enough for a marching band to march out / They would make your name sing and bend through alleys
and bounce off all the buildings."
The 11 songs are quite soft, maybe too soft. Almost too much of what's good. Like when you get too much sweets, unable to make a timely stop. It's a dream coming through before the ache starts. Indeed pleasant, but without doubt fluffy stuff as well. But excellent if you're in the mood and in need for the comforting
songs of Ben Gibbard and his fellow Cuties. They're a bit like The Shins, except DCfC is way more produced and gift-wrapped. And where The Shins write straight to the heart, DCfC wanna include mind and body as well. Plans was recorded in a barn in Massachusetts. The music on it is almost like it's a kitten (born in that same barn maybe) - lying purring on your lap.
A funny thing which strikes me is the slight resemblance to Norwegian artist William Hut. The song-writing, the arrangements and the vocals. DCfC fans should definitely check him out.
I'm curious to check out the DVD - Drive Well, Sleep Carefully - released earlier this year presenting the live band DCfC.
Copyright © 2005 Håvard Oppøyen