1. We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes (2000)

We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes bends and breaks. It builds itself only to fall flat in its own languid misery (“Company Calls” and “Company Calls Epilogue”). It represses its anguish and adorably shrugs at responsibility (“405″). If Death Cab albums were novels, then this one is a post-coming-of-age, broke-but-what, why-do-my-hangovers-last-until-3-p.m. tome about the awkward bit of your mid-twenties when you first realize you’re not as smart as you think you are, but have absolutely no idea what to do about it. From its opener, “Title Track,” a song about nostalgia, wish-fulfillment, and questionable decisions, we’re given the mission statement. There’s youth-euphoria and clear improvement from Airplane’s lack of polish that would ultimately define the band. The record ascends from an emotional middle ground — not a high or a low, just a place of figuring it out until the feelings collapse on themselves at “Epilogue.” There, the record takes a turn for the morose, bled of confidence at “No Joy In Mudville,” yet distinctly beautiful with its bells and barren soundscape. It’s the most complete journey offered by any Death Cab record, and that’s what makes it so wholly satisfying. When you examine their catalogue in its entirety, Facts presents the quintessential Death Cab, because here they’ve carved out their trademark sound and are probably most present in the despondency they do so well. It’s why the album’s third cut, “For What Reason,” just might be the best song in their catalogue. While the band crafts catchy, jangly precision that glitters, it’s bloodthirsty. Gibbard sings, “This won’t be the last you hear from me, it’s just the start/ I hope that he keeps you up for weeks, like you did to me” sweetly as ever, but the viciousness shines through. The brightest smile is made up of the tightest-clenched teeth.

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