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Through email marketing I’m always receiving the latest updates in the world of music. The day I heard Death Cab for Cutie’s frontman Ben Gibbard say that their seventh studio album would be “much less guitar-centric,” I was honestly a little worried. The Seattle-based group is known for their indie-rock guitar sound, so what would their latest album, Codes and Keys, be like without their signature sound? The answer: a synth filled, mature sound giving listeners a refreshing new musical style.

Album ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Title Singer Rating
Home Is a Fire Ben Gibbard ★★½☆☆
Codes and Keys Ben Gibbard ★★★★☆
Some Boys Ben Gibbard ★★★☆☆
Doors Unlocked and Open Ben Gibbard ★★★☆☆
You Are a Tourist Ben Gibbard ★★★★☆
Unobstructed View Ben Gibbard ★★★★½
Monday Morning Ben Gibbard ★★★★☆
Portable Television Ben Gibbard ★★★★☆
Underneath the Sycamore Ben Gibbard ★★★½☆
St. Peter’s Cathedral Ben Gibbard ★★★★★
Stay Young, Go Dancing Ben Gibbard ★★★★☆

1. Home is a Fire: The album starts with this echo-filled track as Gibbard’s soaring vocals soar through the synth based backdrop. Listeners receive a full dose of this new Death Cab sound head on with this lead track so it probably makes sense from the band’s standpoint to start things off with this track. However, it’s a fairly dull song by album leadoff standards.

2. Codes and Keys: The band is able to rebound with the title track as the lyrics “we are alive” resonates in this song, giving us a joy-filled melody.

3. Some Boys: Through Gibbard’s falsetto “ooh-oohs” and lyrics of “some boys don’t know how to love,” Death Cab gives listeners a unique track contemplating lives lived without love.

4. Doors Unlocked and Open: Here listeners receive a dose of California imagery as you can almost see the Pacific coastline while listening to this mellow, peaceful track.

5. You are a Tourist: This single gives us a catchy tune as Gibbard asserts that “if you feel like a tourist in the city you were born then it’s time to go.”

6. Unobstructed View: This one is a slow builder as the piano driven instrumental is the driving force for the first three minutes of the tune as we ultimately hear Gibbard sing of “new love” in the backend of this six-minute track.

7. Monday Morning: A very pleasant and upbeat tune for a song describing a Monday morning. Gibbard’s wife, actress Zooey Deschanel, is the likely source of inspiration for this one.

8. Portable Television: Another piano driven, upbeat melody. Lyrics wise, it’s a hard track to make sense out of, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

9. Underneath the Sycamore: Probably the most stereotypical Death Cab that you’ll find on this album as the guitar riffs welcome the sentimental lyrics of “we are the same.”

10. St. Peter’s Cathedral: Gibbard contemplates life after death in this surprisingly joyous track given the subject matter as the tune builds towards an epic climax as the worrisome lyrics of “there’s nothing past this” brings the track to its conclusion. The standout track of the album.

11. Stay Young, Go Dancing: The album concludes with this joyous melody as Gibbard reminds his listeners to do just what the title suggests.

While a departure from their “normal” sound, Death Cab for Cutie gives its listeners a refreshing new approach. Codes and Keys presents a very mature sounding set list as the band continues to expand on the musical spectrum.

Album reviewed by Danielle , Eatbreatheblog