Death Cab for Cutie’s latest album Narrow Stairs is definitely a new take on their own sound from their earlier albums. They make sure to let you know with the second track of the album, “I Will Possess Your Heart,” which builds up 5 wordless minutes of moody atmosphere before it becomes a stalker’s love letter that would even make Sting blush.
Ben Gibbard, also the lead singer of The Postal Service, displays a darker side with his lyrics, all the while maintaining that high quality tenor that has made him so easy to listen to. It is his voice that makes the lyrics seem to flow more easily and take away the heartbreaking sting from songs like “You Can Do Better Than Me,” which dives into the crushing depths of loneliness.
Even with those gloomy topics, the band never really seems to lose sight of its pop-rock sensibilities. Kudos should be given to guitarist and producer Chris Walla, who stays away from thinking that if “it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Walla, along with the rest of the band, wanted to create a new vibe for their group and ended up surpassing previous attempts. They have not exceeded their efforts by leaps and bounds, but did make baby steps in their progression.