â€œCodes and Keysâ€, Death Cab for Cutie’s seventh studio album, will be released on May 31st on Atlantic Records. The album as a whole remains similar to the indie rock bandâ€™s typical sound (not saying thatâ€™s a bad thing, in fact itâ€™s really a good thing).
First track and second single â€œHome is A Fireâ€ starts the album off slow and steady and has a rhythm reminiscent of singer Ben Gibbardâ€™s band The Postal Service. â€œPlates, they will shift / Houses will shake / Fences will droop / We will awake / Only to find / Nothing’s the sameâ€ repeats as the chorus and contributes to the trance-like tempo.
The albumâ€™s namesake, second song â€œCodes and Keysâ€ contains a hooking drumbeat and heavy, cabaret-style piano that carries the melody to the end. Violins kick in as harmony to Gibbardâ€™s vocals. â€œAs minor chords of major works / Separate rooms of single life / We are one / We are alive,â€ are typical of Death Cab lyrics, which make them all the greater.
Much like the previous track, third single â€œSome Boysâ€ starts and maintains a fixed bass drum beat and cymbal tap. Sporadic breaths throughout the song add to its eccentricity. The repetition of â€œsome boys areâ€ builds and builds contributing to the consistency and overall message of the song.
â€œDoors Unlocked and Openâ€ provides a classic rock guitar and drum combo feel until it piece by piece adds other instruments. And oh man, that bass line! Once the bass guitar is present, it mixes with the original guitar and ever present drum to create a nice balance. No instrument shines above another in this track, as they all contribute to the wholesome sound.
The albumâ€™s first single â€œYou Are a Touristâ€ is next and packs an enormous punch. The song is definitely a great choice by the band for a single. It has everything that a single should have (ok, maybe my bias is showing, but I adore this song!), catchy lyrics, a guitar rhythm and drumbeat that make you want to dance, and the echoing of â€œthis, fire, grows, high.â€ If you havenâ€™t heard this song yet, seriously, go to YouTube now! (Plus, the video is really cool).
â€œUnobstructed Viewsâ€ starts with a beautiful piano solo combined with tinkering of bells on top of a faded melody. As the piano grows louder, a sound that can only be described as soft hammering combined with a light, airy flute leading into vocals gives the piece a nature-movie soundtrack vibe. The sudden addition of backup vocals in harmony is pleasant surprise that is goose bump worthy. The rain drop tinkering is a satisfying ending.
â€œMonday Morningâ€ tells the tale of a young girl in love with vintageâ€¦ how indie. The simplicity of the instruments adds to the carefree feeling the lyrics provide. Nothing really sticks out too much about the track, just that itâ€™s bittersweet and simple, which is enough of a combination to make it easy listening.
â€œPortable Televisionâ€ is the first fast paced song on the album. The drums come off as unexpected at first, but then set the tempo for the rest of the song. The heavy percussion is a nice change from the other tracks on the album.
â€œUnderneath the Sycamoreâ€ draws the image of lovers lying in the grass looking up at the sky. â€œWe are the same / We are both safe / Underneath the sycamore,â€ on top of a kit rhythm adds to the consistency that whole album contains.
â€œSt. Peterâ€™s Cathedralâ€ starts with a raw breakdown that features Gibbardâ€™s voice above single, spaced out electric guitar strums. The addition of soft â€œbum, bum, bumâ€ in the background followed by overlapping vocals contribute to the tranquility.
â€œStay Young, Go Dancingâ€ has an acoustic beginning that turns into a mix between a dance floor ballad and a movie-flashback scene. The violins underneath the lyrics â€œand when she sings, I hear a symphonyâ€ are absolutely lovely, as with the overall message of the song.
Overall, the album as a whole provides different aspects of sound that appeal to more than one type of listener. From percussion heavy rhythms, to piano melodies, to unexpected echoing harmonies, â€œCodes and Keysâ€ mixes in a little of everything, while managing to stay true to the Death Cab sound.
Codes & Keys Tracklisting
1. Home Is A Fire
2. Codes And Keys
3. Some Boys
4. Doors Unlocked And Open
5. You Are A Tourist
6. Unobstructed Views
7. Monday Morning
8. Portable Television
9. Underneath The Sycamore
10. St Peterâ€™s Cathedral
11. Stay Young, Go Dancing
Pre-order Death Cab For Cutie’s new album Codes & Keys now at http://deathcabforcutie.com/codesandkeys