Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs [Atlantic Records; 12/05/2008]
Depends on who you're talking to, Plans was a successful record, being that it won the band a ton of new fans and the music continued to be catchy. Long time fans have been sceptical of the band ever since selling their souls to the evil of a larger record company, that being Atlantic Records. Time has flown and it's time for the Cutie's second outing on Atlantic. In a quote that was posted on the Wikipedia late last year had me frothing at the mouth for the follow up as some of the quote mentioned a "10 minute long Can jam", anticipation ensured. Being excited as I was for the release of Narrow Stairs I was duped into a faux version of the record, some German band? Feeling the sting, finally a real version was released.
On first listen I was a little underwhelmed as i was wanting/expecting an album full of space flavoured jams but after a few more listens the songs really started to reveal themselves. For starters "I Will Possess Your Heart", (the first single and the song in which the quote came from) is song of the year material, strangely different from past material, smooth and excitingly creative. In fact the album sports a few song of the year candidates, as in opener "Bixby Canyon Bridge" Gibbard showcases his influences in beat poetry with his lyrics over an incredible slice of musical bliss. "Grapevine Fires" apparently written about the fires which spread across L.A last year is the Cutie at the top of their game. The album is certainly a mixed bag of sorts as "Long Division" is the upbeat rocker and "You Can Do Better Than Me" is the Death Cab trademark insecurity song, which carries over the similar themes from past albums and "Pity and Fear" could be that song to become your favourite song on the album after listening to the others too much. Guitarist/Producer Chris Walla is at the helm of the bands sixth effort and he does it justice.
Being a guy who hasnt been with them since the beginning (as I'm far too young) it's great to see a record of such quality even if there is no comparison to some of their Barsuk material, depending on the listener and when they started with the band I still really feel this is a really fine album. For those who haven't already dismissed the band for becoming to popular expect to see Narrow Stairs at the top of a few polls at the end of the year.
Stay Tuned for Lullaby's Best Music of 2008 so far...