Friday, April 8, 2011
Death Cab For Cutie: You Are A Tourist
For the majority of the time that I was aware of Death Cab for Cutie, I had no time for them. Stupid name, fey singing and a lack of attack made me dismiss them out of hand - I was simply too punk, too hardcore for them. But as with much of the music I now adore, it took the right time, the right song and the right girl to convince me that I was missing out.
As the first single, You Are A Tourist gives us the first indication of what their new album sounds like. The early reports were that Codes and Keys was driven much more by keyboard written material but this song reveals none of that direction. With a sparkling guitar line and memorable vocal hook, it seems Death Cab's core business of producing little indie pop gems remains unchanged.
What I think sets Death Cab apart is their lyrics and Ben Gibbard's ability to capture a moment or ignite the imagination or a feeling through a phrase. For me, this couplet resonates most:
And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born
Then, it's time to go
There is a certain sense of displacement in the lyrics which I can relate to in a very personal way. I know this is self indulgent but it also makes me like the song more.
Other than that, one element that most people miss in Death Cab is that the bass playing is always incredibly fluid and they have an understated groove that often propels the music in unseen directions. So, for a fan of the latter day Death Cab catalogue, You Are A Tourist fits snuggly into that discography. This is good news if you're already onboard the Death Cab and if you're not, move along, there's nothing here for you.