Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys

I take it back; I’m gonna stay together with girlfriend after all. If that had been a solid album, full of sad odes to loneliness then I might have ended it all out of fealty. But as it is, nah, being taken is a good deal. Slightly understood as a human being, having regular sex, idly chasing threesomes, life is better this way if Gibby and co. aren’t gonna deliver. I don’t need the new girl!
It’s not abjectly bad, but in this lovely world of honesty through Mumford and Sons and such, I don’t have much room for expression through keyboard-led soft rock that scorns direct expression, at least not from a band like DCFC. Back when they sang about how their girlfriends had issues and were almost famous I loved the manic appreciation of the big trouble relationships could be. With reckless abandon they used to sing about the good girl and all the real girls and it was made personal by biting lyrics and elf guitars. Now that seems mostly gone, lost in a sea of slow builds to nothing.
I hope the whole thing isn’t a eulogy for DCFC’s career. The whole album suffers from a failure to launch. Despite the band’s California origins, the thing plays like a winter’s passing. The surf’s up, in other words. Gibby sounds like a tin man, not singing about the issues. The wonderful wizard of oz may be behind the album’s curtains, but aside from single “You Are A Tourist” the whole thing sounds like a bridge to terabithia.
It may be the happening for the band that makes them reconsider their artistic future, and I hope it isn’t this. It isn’t gigantic. Yes, man, it’s too soft and bereft of the feel I remember. The band’s past was indeed 500 days of summer, but the lyrics cut the joy with sober relationship realities. Now bones are clear white gleaming, and your highness Gibby is left without affecting stories to tell. I guess we’ll have to wait for the new girl. Nope, didn’t already say that one.
“St. Peter’s Cathedral” is pretty good too.

5/10

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