Death Cab For Cutie Codes And Keys

You’ve heard “Underneath The Sycamore,” “Some Boys,” “Home Is A Fire,” “You Are A Tourist,” and title track “Codes And Keys.” Now you hear the other six tracks on Codes And Keys via the NPR stream below. What do you think? Did the band’s goal of producing a more experimental, less-guitar-packed (and more optimistic) album pay off?

Comments (36)
  1. I’d kind of rather a Cults comment party instead.

  2. I was extremely doubtful that they had it in them, but this is by far their best album since “Transatlanticism.”

    I love the heavy krautrock influence on “Doors Unlocked and Open” and the epic atmosphere of “Unobstructed Views,” while “Underneath the Sycamore” is the best melody Ben has written in a long, long time.

  3. There’s no doubt in my mind this is what they’re going to be remembered for, unless they could somehow top this, that would be tough though.

    • It would be quite a bummer if this is what they’re remembered for. They’ve done much better. This feels better than the last couple at first listen, though. Good album.

  4. An enjoyable listen. As always, good “mood music” for rainy days and long car rides.

  5. there was one melody that sounded like Death of an Interior Decorator.

    I like the production and textures of this record a ton and enjoy the contrast between this record and Narrow Stairs.

    Overall this has potential to be their best on Atlantic definitely. Though, my heart will always be with the three-punch of We Have the Facts, Photo Album and Transatlanticism.

    My favorite tracks were the title track, Unobstructed Views, Portable Television and St. Peter’s Cathedral!

  6. This might be the best Death Cab record to date, but that’s only upon one listen. “St. Peter’s Cathedral” is fantastic, but really the whole album is a treat. Beats Narrow Stairs handily

  7. Way better than I thought a post-Transatlanticism DCFC was capable of. Easily better than their previous two album.

  8. Enjoyable the whole way through. After a few listens, I’m already kind of in love. So pleased!

  9. Enjoyable the whole way through. After a few listens, I’m already kind of in love. So pleased!

  10. I am afraid I am not as thrilled as I should be.

  11. woozefa  |   Posted on May 23rd, 2011 0

    ‘some boys’ = favorite track so far. good album, should only get better.

  12. First listen i was not super stoked. But second listen in the headphones I’m enjoying it a whole lot more.

  13. Maybe the second best Ben Gibbard record behind Give Up, but that could be just me. I really like Doors Unlocked and Open. It’s really sophisticated, and there are definitely a lot of nuances you have to pay attention to. Great headphones album.

  14. Only one listen so far, but it’s pretty good! It’s definitely interesting musically, and it’s cohesive, too. I was pretty indifferent about some of the songs when they premiered individually, but taken as parts of a whole, they’re much better.

  15. Definitely better than I feared it would be. The best songs on this aren’t as good as the best songs on Narrow Stairs, but it’s stronger as a whole. They’ll never better the first few albums though.

  16. I got into Death Cab after ‘Plans’, which I think is a perfectly put together album of interesting, well arranged pop songs, with great lyrics. I really don’t understand the hatred of that album, or the love of their earlier albums (but this is probably due to the fact I didn’t hear their early albums first).

    I was fairly disappointed with Narrow Stairs, but so far I’m enjoying this album much more. I think Death Cab songs, in general, benefit from more of a studio focus. with an emphasis on layering of different textural sounds and arrangements, which I’d say was missing from their more stripped back (and, in my opinion) boring last album.

    • I respectfully disagree. I am glad you get enjoyment out of “Plans”–I do too, because the album certainly has its moments–but I personally think it’s far more uneven than anything else they’ve done. It’s not a bad album, but certainly not a great one, imo, and it’s legitimate for many DCFC fans to consider it their slightest record.

      I went into it intimately familiar and in love with all of their previous releases–LPs, EPs, singles, etc.–and was thoroughly disappointed. I don’t consider it any sort of a “sell-out” album or anything (as if that word has much meaning any more), And I absolutely am not a person who expects a band to just find one formula and stick with it–to the contrary, with most bands I am disappointed if they *don’t* evolve from album to album. I just didn’t and do not consider the quality up to par with the rest of their releases.

      “Your Heart Is An Empty Room” is a great song, though (esp. Ben’s lyrics). And please don’t let my defense of my position negatively impact your enjoyment of the album.

  17. I gotta say, I was worried after that Twilight song. I’m glad they put my fears to rest.

  18. First listen = I love it. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard the direction they wanted to go with this album, but I’m definitely feeling it more than Narrow Stairs.

  19. best album since facts. beautiful beautiful beautiful.

  20. It´s definitely more cohesive than the last two records. But I guess I´m just a fan of the poppy death cab songs, because these stretched out slow-building songs really don’t do it for me. I find the rhythm section extremely uninspired, boring and monotonous, while there’s not enough melodic shifts to keep me interested.

    I guess that’s why I like tourist and sycamore the most.

  21. dumbest band name ever?

  22. The album just leaked online…

    Listening now…


    joy to my ears.

  23. Liking the new album alot, wasn’t really digging the last one but this is great stuff. Been looking for that sound ever since Transatlanticism. i’m trying to get some of music out there and would love to hear what everyone has to say. My music is all free and will always be, playing just for the love of music. Hope some of you check it out =) would be great to hear some feedback.

  24. It definitely took several listens to make a conclusion of what I thought about the album. It is totally safe to say that Codes and Keys beats Narrow Stairs. I would not go as far to say that it is DCFC’s best album or that it is even better than past albums. I feel like their sound has matured and Ben’s voice has gotten harsher–I loved his sound in the ‘We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes’ stage (and of course, Transatlanticism). The title track on this album is pretty epic. I’m in love.

  25. I think it’s pretty good. I certainly like it more than I was expecting too given my impressions of the songs that appeared prior to the npr stream. I still think Narrow Stairs is better, but it feels like I’m in the minority on that. I just happen to really love Narrow Stairs. I love the darkness of it, the super long intro to I will possess your heart, the artwork from EE Storey, the style of font they used for the liner notes, everything.

    For the most part, it feels like Ben’s lyrics are a little simpler on this album in both diction and structure, which I find a bit of a step back. I also kind of wished that the jaunty piano part was stripped out of the song Codes and Keys (a la The Ice is Getting Thinner), at least for the beginning of the song. It seems to fit better later in the song. But I absolutely love listening to Stay Young, Go Dancing.

  26. So beautiful! Listening to all of DCfC’s albums in chronological order it’s clear how much they’ve changed and grown but have done so gracefully and without losing sight of their core sound and overall vibe. Plans is arguably one of their best albums, it seems to be their peak simply because it had the essence of their organic lyrics but was simplified with refined instrumentals. Everything since Plans seems to still be Death Cab but is them pushing the envelope and exploring where this perfected sound can go. That said Keys and Codes is one of their best albums and has personally surpassed any of my wildest expectations. Keep doing what you’re doing boys =)

  27. Great album. At first I was also bit afraid where they were about to go since the last one, but getting to love it more and more with every listen. Really appreciate that they don’t stick to the same kind of sound across the years…. as many bands do…

    Thanks guys, you’re doing great job!!! :-)

  28. Matured and considered album. Great pleasure to hear. For me it’s a typical grower. I listen to it every day.

  29. I liked it, but I thought most of the lyrics were abysmal. Really bland, generic rock cliches. Death cab sounds bored and boring on this one.

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