Death Cab For Cutie - The Photo Album (Cover Artwork)

Death Cab For Cutie

The Photo Album (2001)


My friend Steve always tells me about new bands for me to check out. He told me about the Dismemberment Plan and Wilco and a lot more of my now-favorite bands. One day he told me about Death Cab For Cutie, so i downloaded a few of their songs. I HATED them. Having heard a few mp3s and obtaining a burned copy of "we have the facts and we're voting yes," i had attained enough information to decided that i really hated this band.

But then "The Photo Album" was released, and something drew me towards it. I had heard one song from it and noticed that they had changed their sound a bit. Based on that, i purchased the CD. From the first note of "Steadier Footing" i knew that i was in love. The minute-and-a-half song deals with love and hopelessness, one of the most generic song topics in underground music these days. However, Death Cab has this amazing ability to take a fresh approach to these overdone "emo" themes, which makes them so interesting to listen to. You hang on to EVERY word that vocalist Ben Gibbard sings, and the sheer honesty in his voice makes every word important.

Highlights of the cd includes the mellow "Movie Script Ending," the balls-out rocker "Why You'd Want To Live Here", an ode to Los Angeles (i bet you don't think "balls-out rocker" when you think of death cab, do you?), and 2 lyrically perfect songs "I was a Kaleidoscope" and "Styrofoam Plates", which deals with Gibbard's "bastard" father.

But the true gem of this album is track 3, "We Laugh Indoors." In this song, the beautiful melody floats over the sonic landscape of guitar work by Gibbard and Chris Walla. The song builds through the verses and bridge into one of the most intense "rock out" sections ever recorded in a song. To see this song performed live is truly an experience.

In every aspect, this cd is amazing. From Ben Gibbard's lyrics and singing to Michael Shorr's tasteful drum work, this is a superb recording that no "indie rock" collection should be without.

"I was a kaleidoscope: the snow on my lenses distorting the image of what was only one of you, and i didn't know which one to address as all your lips moved."