Albums: Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys ***
"Some boys don't know how to love," croons Zooey Deschanel's husband Ben Gibbard in an analysis of the love 'em and leave 'em stereotype. However, this boy sounds like he knows how to love, sounding very content with marital bliss on the least guitar-based Death Cab for Cutie album to date.
The sound of sobering up and falling in love suits them well and marks a pleasant change from their more morose and moody material.
Mind you, it's not all sunshine and bouquets of roses. Underneath the Sycamore opens with the grisly image of a car crash. Death Cab for Cutie indeed.
Current single You Are a Tourist is a bug-eyed gem that radiates hope and optimism and Gibbard's vocal is at its floaty and ethereal best. Again, there's a dreamy darkness at play too, whether it's the fear of what's around the corner or a vague learning for more meaning in a disconnected world.
Gibbard's voice is a little slight to pull off an utterly absorbing album with aplomb, but there's more than enough on offer to here to suggest that Death Cab for Cutie are still a band of real substance seven albums into their career.
Burn it: You're A Tourist; Underneath the Sycamore
Day & Night