Codes And Keys – Death Cab For Cutie
By Adam Murray
Well…hmmm. We’re all allowed one, right? I just finished listening to the latest album, Codes And Keys, from Zooey Deschanel’s husband and his friends, also known as Death Cab For Cutie, and it has, unfortunately, fallen short of what we were all hoping for.
According to guitarist Chris Walla, members of Death Cab were gathering inspiration from “heavy” and “slow metal” back in 2008, in preparation to start work on their next LP, a follow up to Narrow Stairs. Somewhere along the line, though, I guess they lost that inspiration, and decided to go in a familiar, but less enthusiastic direction.
I listened to Codes and Keys three times to try and find something that broke out of their usual flow, or progressed in a new direction, beyond their other songs, but I couldn’t find anything to fall into those columns. In the span from 2003 with their release of Transatlanticism up until now, the majority of Death Cab For Cutie’s songs can be placed in the pop/alternative genre, but Keys is easily the least creative of all their endeavors. It’s un-inspired. No excitement. Song writing that could be considered subpar, when compared to previous albums. Overall, the album drags along and almost sounds like another band trying to imitate Death Cab and missing the mark on multiple levels (Owl City, anybody?). Normally I could tell you a few of my favorite tracks, but aside from their single “You Are A Tourist” I’m hard pressed to find another one that didn’t leave me feeling bored. Death Cab has changed a lot as a band over the years, most notably, going from indie labels to joining a major label, going “mainstream”, and changing their sound in several ways, but Keys is an unexpected disappointment. Hopefully, the album will at least give Death Cab a boost to come back with something better and new very soon, if you fall down you got to brush yourself off and get back to it. And then put out a new album that sounds like you’re awake.
Death Cab will be playing at the Willamsburg Waterfront, August 2nd