Of all of Ben Gibbard’s projects, I probably enjoy The Postal Service most, with Death Cab for Cutie as an extremely close second. When I heard that Codes and Keys would be a return to a more laid back and piano-laden sound I found myself greatly anticipating the possibilities that this could bring.
While it would be unjust to expect to hear the glitchy electronics I learned to love on Give Up, opener “Home is a Fire” provides shades of just that, giving me just enough to reminisce but not so much as to where I would be confusing the two records.
Things really hit their stride at track four, “Doors Unlocked and Open.” This is a great example of what DCFC does so well; crafting a well-rounded builder of a song with a guitar melody that you’ll be taking with you for the next few days. But to think this would be Codes’ most infectious moment is not the proper thing to do: Enter the album’s lead single, “You Are a Tourist.”
On 2008’s Narrow Stairs listeners were given “I Will Possess Your Heart,” an eight-and-a-half minute long jam session with a winding bass-line that couldn’t possibly be forgotten. While the length of the single this time around is nearly half that of its predecessor, the quality may have gotten even better. “You Are a Tourist” is a radio-friendly rocker that’s sure to see itself in heavy rotation for the summer (and probably a whole lot longer than that!).
Codes seems to dwindle in intensity after this shining moment, seeing its last highlight with “Underneath the Sycamore,” a song that doesn’t stray too far from the vein that the aforementioned “Doors Unlocked…” was swimming in.
While Codes will not trump Death Cab’s previous triumphs (Transatlanticism, Plans) it’s still a solid album and one definitely worth checking out.
Stand Out Tracks: Codes and Keys, Doors Unlocked and Open, You Are a Tourist