Monday, July 21, 2008

RIB (Belated) First Listen: Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

Moni sent this in eons ago but we've been too lazy to post. We're almost too lazy to post it now, too, but we don't want to cause an international incident. However, we can't help but include Moni's own email preface: "Is it too obvious that I was drunk when I wrote half of this? Anyway, I dunno if this review is usable in any way, and I am wondering the same about that damn album. Grr." That being said...

RIB gently asked me if I wanted to review Death Cab For Cutie's latest record, "Narrow Stairs." Right now, I'm not so happy with it.

It's not that I think it's a bad record, not at all. I'm just a little frustrated with it. The album does have its beautiful moments, smart instrumentations, lyrics to scratch your head over, as well as more sweet bass lines than any other Death Cab album to date. It also has many things I know from earlier Death Cab albums - the quiet, almost serene intro track, Ben Gibbard's penchant for repeating words/phrases (and in the case of "I Will Possess Your Heart" I found that repetition quite fitting) and that somewhat muted, fluffy guitar sound.

Overall it's not too different from earlier Death Cab albums, despite claims that this is their "prog" album. There are moments that I enjoy every time I listen to the record, like the piano and bass intro from IWPYH, Gibbard's vocals on "Talking Bird" that seem to be floating above the instruments, the lyrics on "Your New Twin-Sized Bed."

"Narrow Stairs" could be a great record - it sounds great, it's smart, well made, it works your brain and your heart. But for some reason it doesn't really touch me. I am missing something that every one else who loves this record has found, and if you have any idea what I might be missing, please let RIB know.