Death Cab for Cutie | Keys and Codes

Atlantic (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  November 29, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars


Generally, Ben Gibbard is indie rock's über-dork godfather. But here he just sounds like a dork. And a major one at that. A Death Cab remix album shouldn't suck — after all, that's essentially what Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello's work on the lone and wonderful Postal Service LP was all about. But Keys and Codes, which inverts the title of Death Cab's last record, feels slapped together, which is disappointing when you consider the array of talent present. Unicorn Kid's glossy club treatment of the once-ambient "Unobstructed Views" is hilarious for all the wrong reasons — I'm pretty sure nobody wanted to hear Gibbard's heartfelt everyman croon Auto-Tuned and pitch-shifted into an awkward, effeminate robot. Yet those are the cards we're dealt. And Dillon Francis's undercooked "Underneath the Sycamore" removes every hint of emotion and nuance from the original track in favor of whizzing remix explodo-noises (cool! it's a remix!) and chopped-up vocal samples ("We are — the — same. . . . We — are. . . . We — are"). Even Brooklyn psych-pioneers Yeasayer, whose futuristic synth palette seems more than ideal for remixes, fall flat with their take on "Codes and Keys," which dishes out a plethora of cool noises but not much in the way of song development, instead retreating back to generic remix standards: four-four hi-hats and plenty of liquid drizzle.
Related: Death Cab for Cutie crack familiar Codes, Photos: Death Cab for Cutie at the Bank of America Pavilion, Trans Am | What Day Is It Tonight? Trans Am Live, 1993 - 2008, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Death Cab for Cutie, Death Cab for Cutie,  More more >
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