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Death Cab For Cutie
Narrow Stairs
(Atlantic)

My conclusion: this Washington state foursome is incapable of disappointment. Death Cab For Cutie’s second LP for a major label (and sixth altogether) has already topped the charts, and with good reason. Narrow Stairs contains all the elements that are expected from the continuing-to-mature DCFC. The Pet Sounds-inspired march of “You Can Do Better Than Me” leaves you in lock-step with Jason McGerr’s drums and Chris Walla’s organ. This is something the band has perfected. There are subtle lead-ins before a wall of punishing sound sweeps the song away (see opening “Bixby Canyon Bridge”). The first single, “I Will Possess Your Heart”, builds for four minutes with Nicholas Harmer’s repetitious bass before Ben Gibbard’s vocals join the fray. The song then rebuilds itself over the next four minutes, threatening a burst through the containment that never really comes. “No Sunlight” beams like the sun’s rays on a cloudless day, proving ironic given the title, with Byrds-y guitar touches. “Cath…” is the centerpiece of the record with McGerr’s pounding percussion, Harmer’s driving bass, Walla’s patented guitar smattering and Gibbard’s jangling guitar while singing about a woman left at the altar. The latter is a textbook DCFC composition making it one of the album’s favorites. May this band be around for another decade or so!


-James


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 All Contents Copyright © 2014 Stinkweeds Music