The lyrics are still bittersweet and the melodies still gentle. Sticking close to its signature sound, Death Cab for Cutie’s “Codes and Keys” expands on the melancholic, with a few sunny tracks peeking through.
The storm clouds gather in on the first song, “Home is a Fire,” with lead singer Ben Gibbard musing about regrets over a music box xylophone and slow drum beat. It’s slow, it’s sad, and it sounds like it was accidently left off of the band’s “Transatlanticism” album.
The sun peeks out in “You Are A Tourist,” the first single off the album. The song is upbeat, with a strong electric guitar riff, where the rest of the album is slow. The storm finally clears out on “Stay Young, Go Dancing.” The song — like the album — shows an experimentation with synthesizers and drum machines.
As long as the listener is prepared for the bleak songs at the beginning, they’ll enjoy the sunny and pleasant songs at the end.
3 out of 4 stars