For those who both love and regularly listen to the albums of Aden and Holiday, Death Cab for Cutie records are the Northwestern
equivalent. Each song captures what the band probably aimed to achieve,
with smart lyrics ("I tried my best to keep my distance from your dress")
and good, multi-layered melodies, and excelling a bit more in some very
nicely arranged bridges and choruses. Benjamin Gibbard and the band have,
you might say, a deep awareness of what they can do well, and they
stick to it: songs coated with melancholy that go down like cough syrup and
make you feel, thanks to the artistry involved, a little better.
Now, for those who who find nothing wrong with groups like Aden and Holiday,
but seldom listen to them...perhaps your problem with the seemingly flawless We Have the Facts and We're Voting
Yes! is the same as mine. Even when Death Cab's songs seem different, with changes in musical
focus or instrumentation, the overriding sense is always the same: "I am a
well-polished pop song." Since most experiments fail, it seems dumb to
criticize a band for not saying "What the fuck" sometimes, but I hope Death
Cab for Cutie pull out their own Sandinista someday. They don't need
to dabble in dub territory or get a child to grab the mic once, but
anything that diverts them from their traditional route to excellence would be a
very welcome addition to their future records.
As things presently stand, I'd be silly not to recommend Death Cab for Cutie
-- their individual songs are simply too good. However, you might find
yourself, like me, acknowledging their record's greatness but playing something like Paul
McCartney's sloppy-but-loveable Run Devil Run far more often.