Cracking The Codes And Keys

By Misha Krynauw

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With seven albums behind their name and a presumed “sound” to their songs, Death Cab For Cutie seemingly had more of the same to offer when it came to their newest album Codes and Keys.

This could not be further from the truth. Merging their well-known eerie and sometimes saddening tones with a new, light-hearted approach resulted in a successfully poignant and wistful feel to their songs. The ever-distinct voice of lead singer, Ben Gibbard, is accompanied by experimental percussion techniques which is especially evident in the songs such as Home Is A Fire and Portable Television and You Are A Tourist. A slight edge has also been incorporated which shows more prominence in songs such as Some Boys and Monday Morning. This newfound element that has resulted in this album can only be summarised by what Billboard refers to as upbeat melancholy.

This album incorporates a distinct sense of nostalgia which is a strange sensation for a first time listener. Codes and Keys does what many new albums are failing to do - connect with their listeners. This album is a peaceful and reminiscent one, and by the sounds of it, happily so. If a standout track had to be chosen, it would have to be a three-way tie between Stay Young, Go Dancing, with Some Boys and You Are A Tourist. Stay Young, Go Dancing is an undeniably happy song, beginning with the lines, “Life is sweet in the belly of the beast /In the belly of the beast/ And with her song in your heart, it can never bring you down/ It can never bring you down”.

The title track Codes and Keys, is a perfect example of their sharp, image-filled lyrics that fuel the entire album; the song’s first few lines being, “We won’t get far/ Flying in circles inside a jar/ Because the air we breathe/ Is thinning with the words that we speak”.

Codes and Keys is an album that paints iridescent imaginings in your head as you lie with your headphones in without a care in the world. The album itself flows freely throughout each track and is seamless in its production, listening to it from start to finish is subconsciously done.

Having gained some perspective on love and life and maturing ever-so-slightly to find the unique balance between wisdom and spontaneity, Death Cab For Cutie have definitely succeeded in the creation of this kaleidoscopic album.

The music video for You Are A Tourist was shot live and streamed via www.youareatourist.com after a week of rehearsals.

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