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Monday, May 12, 2008

Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs [album review]

Initial Thoughts Album Review # 3
Unpretentious album reviews that forgo the big words, analogies and obscure music-references to simply voice some initial thoughts and gut reactions.

I have long suspected that professional music review writers are idiots. It appears that my suspicions were warranted. Everything I have read about the new Death Cab for Cutie album, Narrow Stairs, goes on an on about how weird, raw or daring the new LP was. Now that I have had my first full listen, I disagree. Ben and the boys have stated in various interviews that this album is a little less polished than Plans because they recorded a lot of it in relatively few takes with minimal tweaking afterwards. This, I can hear. However, I don't see the album as too much of a departure for the band. I hear elements of much of their previous work. I don't get why all those early reviews were saying that this album was so different and would either garner widespread acclaim or alienate DCFC's entire fan base. What garbage! The album is great and it sounds very much like a DCFC album. Maybe some reviewers just needed something to talk about. I suspect that some of them had only listened to the album first single, I Will Possess your Heart, and little else.

In any case - the album sounds great.

Here's some Death Cab for Cutie to purchase

Or, hows about some Postal Service?

Or solo Ben Gibbard?


  1. Narrow stairs is likely to be a disappointment to a lot of people, and I mean a lot. The multitudes of fans that will be expecting to hear an extension to plans (in terms of sound) will be flat out majorly disappointed. No doubt DCFC own record label will be disappointed as well for I am sure this cd will not sell as many copies as their previous two albums. This being said as I listened to this cd I was overcome with a new found love for my favorite band. Not only did they stick it to their record label but they also stuck it hard to a lot of their fan base. Most people would ask the question why? Why totally disregard and upset their fans? Well to me its quite simple. Narrow Stairs is DCFC, and more specifically a portrait of who Ben Gibbard is. This album strays away from perfect notes and endless tinkering and is simply raw uncut music. If anyone is a true fan of DCFC and has been to their concerts over the years its so obvious. Transatlanticism and Plans drew in a remarkably young group of followers who simply liked the trendy songs of “ I will follow you into the dark” and “soul meets body”. The mainstream fan base they never intended to appease was suddenly launching them to something they didn’t want to become. Narrow Stairs shuts the door on a fan base DCFC never intended to have, its that plain and simple. No modern day band has accomplished what DCFC has done with Narrow Stairs. They have literally shattered the mold that they were being solidified in and with Narrow Stairs is returning to music that simply is. Let the critics hate this album. Let the “fans” hate it as well. Its their loss and true fans of DCFC in the end will walk away from this album with grins as wide at the Potomac river. –AdAm MaScArEnAs

  2. It was disappointing for me, especially after reading reviews where Ben said it was going to be daring. They are the same old Death Cab - more polished, more produced (Walla did an allright job, I thought) - but same melody lines and song structures. This will be a great album to introduce folks who've never heard Death Cab to their music, but for folks who've been around the block (I saw them dozens of times in Seattle at clubs like the Crocodile in front of 50 people for $5) and have been death cab fans for years, this is no the new ground they were hoping for.