Album Review: The Postal Service Give Up (Sub Pop) ***
This debut album from Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab for Cutie, and electronic specialist Jimmy Tamborello was a big success on its original release in 2003, becoming Sub Pop's best-selling album since Nirvana's Bleach some 14 years previously.
It's often cited as one of the key US indie releases of the last decade, and it has now been re-released and lavishly re-packaged to mark its 10 anniversary, although I can't be the only one who wonders quite why this slight, charmingly whimsical album is so admired.
Sure, there are some special moments when Gibbard's pop instincts and Tamborello's ear for detail combine beautifully, such as the quirky, new wavey Clark Gable, a song which pines after a former lover. But there are plenty of tracks that don't appear to add up to the sum of their parts.
And that's despite the best efforts of vocalist Jenny Lewis who would go on to do some fine things with her band Rilo Kiley.
Still, a fresh listen after several years reveals The District Sleeps Alone Tonight to be something of an under-appreciated gem – thanks, mainly, to Tamborello's subtle electronica – while the lovely, self-consciously fey Nothing Better sounds like it could have been written for that sweet hipsterish movie, 500 (Days of Summer).
KEY TRACKS Clark Gable; Nothing Better