Quick Review (LP): Codes & Keys by Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie
Codes & Keys
Atlantic; 2011

My Rating: A- (81/100)

Best Tracks: "Home is a Fire", "Codes and Keys", "Doors Unlocked and Open", "You Are A Tourist", "Unobstructed Views"

"Life is sweet in the belly of the best."


  • Apparently, they were going for Eno circa Another Green World here. I can hear that, though it still sounds like Death Cab of course.
  • At first blush, this is very piano-based.
  • "Doors Unlocked and Open" has a little bit of a kraut-rock vibe. Sehr gut.
  • "You Are A Tourist" may be the most radio-friendly track they’ve ever written. Bouncy & poppy.
  • "Unobstructed Views" is a nice touch. A very Eno-ish moment, although I wish they’d gotten a little more out of this world with it.
  • "There’s nothing past this." Gibbard sure is a sentimental nihilist, and a certain one at that. ("St. Peter’s Cathedral")
  • The first half far excels the second. That’s a problem they’ve faced on a number of their albums.
  • After all the keyboards and electronic wash of the first 10 tracks, the acoustics, strings, and toms on "Stay Young, Go Dancing" are a nice way to end the record.
  • In terms of theme, this record is like one big expansion of "I Will Follow You Into The Dark." The subject matter is full of existential despair, which makes for an interesting listen. Gibbard is nothing if not a guy with an interesting outlook on the world.
  • This is one of the band’s best records, and I think they are getting better with age. I do wish it was a little more raw at times; sometimes there’s a disconnect between Gibbard’s lyrical content and the prettiness of the tunes. There are some very choice cuts here though, and I think this one is worthy of deeper interaction. Maybe they’ll make a Cosmic American record next time around?

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consistency (3.5/5)
Consequence (4.5/5)
Songs (4.5/5)

2 Responses to Quick Review (LP): Codes & Keys by Death Cab For Cutie

  1. Pingback: LP Review: Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie « Sweet Georgia Breezes

  2. Pingback: Top Albums 2011: Honorable Mention « Sweet Georgia Breezes

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