Sunday, April 16, 2006

Death Cab For Cutie - Plans

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Death Cab For Cutie are one of those bands I would normally avoid simply because of their name; indeed, this album came out in the UK last August and completely bypassed me. Indeed it was only upon giving their recent single "Crooked Teeth" a review that I happened upon a copy of this. (In case Atlantic Records are reading this lets say nothing else than "thanks EG").

Of course, the question amongst long-term fans seems to be whether or not this major label leap has made for a better DCFC or not? Well as I've never heard them before I cannot comment, but I can say that Plans is a wonderful little record.

My first impression was that Death Cab are somehow the missing link between Jimmy Eats World and Coldplay. Plans mixes the emo sound with a more plaintive and mellow sound and indeed when it works well, such as on the sublime What Sarah Said, where by the lines "But I'm thinking of what Sarah said/That love is watching someone die" come out, you're almost on the verge of tears, the results are spectacular. You get the feeling that if Chris Martin had come up with this, you'd have a multi-million seller on your hands.

And this is not the only stand out moment. In fact the other two stand out moments for me effectively highlight just how varied Death Cab seem to be able to be. Soul Meets Body is perhaps a little too melodramatic for it's own good, but it's one the most ambitious track on the album. It takes a while to get going, but when it does, the results are impressive. However it's followed by an even better track in I Will Follow You Into The Dark, which has nothing but an acoustic guitar for backing. The story maybe the age old fear of losing a lover rearing it's ugly head, but its simple delivery produces something that is genuinely affecting.

However it's not all as good as this. Someday You Will Be Loved is a fairly catchy melody that's ruined by some of the most mawkish and cringe-worthy lyrics you'll ever here; Different Names for the Same Thing is another ambitious musical production, which is definately too melodramtic and spends far too much time going nowhere in particular.

Still the overall impression is good, with the good stuff far outweighing the dross. And whilst sometimes I did find myself wishing for them to pick up the pace somewhat and offer something different, when they get it right, there are few that could do it any better and its definately good enough to ensure I'll be taking the time to check out their back catalogue.

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