Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs – music review

death cab for cutie
Artist: Death Cab For Cutie
Title: Narrow Stairs
Label: Atlantic Records
Rating: 7/10

Corporate line:
Death Cab for Cutie has unveiled initial details of their new album. Produced by the band’s own Chris Walla, “Narrow Stairs” will be preceded by the single, “I Will Possess Your Heart.” “I hope this album is a bit of a surprise for those out there that think they have us all figured out. We can’t wait to share these songs with the world,” states Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer.

The hits:
“I Will Possess Your Heart” – A stalker’s love song? I never thought being so creepy could sound so good.
“Cath…” – A beautiful song that even in its gorgeous splendor is a painful ode to a married woman who has “closed the door on many men.” It sounds as though the singer was one of those men.
“Grapevine Fires” – An odd, but compelling song. DCFC knows how to be odd and beautiful all at the same time. Who would have thought that you could sing about brush fires and make it sound so delicate and charming.

The rest:

“Talking Bird” – Not necessarily a bad song–just unremarkable.
“You Can Do Better Than Me” – A pretty song that goes by without much thought. It’s not fair to say it isn’t good–because it is the sort of song that with time may grow more interesting.
“Your New Twin Sized Bed” – A throwaway song.

Death Cab For Cutie follow with a formula that has served bands like The Flaming Lips very well. They create worlds with odd characters that often cross the line between cute and bizarre. The characters make for compelling stories. The band’s gift is that they can also make great melodies out of these stories. It’s not a perfect album, but it is wildly interesting. Without weeks its hard to tell how this album will grow on me. Admittedly “Ok Computer” and The Flaming Lips’ “The Soft Bulletin” didn’t appear to be masterpieces upon the first few listen. History will probably be a better judge of “Narrow Stairs” but right now its a good album. I’ll report back if it begins to engulf me more as time goes on.

Watch the video for “I Will Possess Your Heart”

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