Death Cab For Cutie, We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes (Barsuk)

Posted April 24th, 2000 by admin

Death Cab For Cutie
We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes
By: Eric G.

Praise follows this band around like a dog, but music hyped this much rarely lives up to the word of mouth. Death Cab For Cutie, however, not only lives up to it but the Bellingham, Washington quartet topples any expectations or preconceived notions you may have had. We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes is the band’s second full-length of versatile indie-pop with sullen, introspective lyrics. Vocalist Benjamin Gibbard approaches his singing with a lightly strained cadence not unlike Elliott Smith or even Doug Martsch of Built To Spill. The music sounds sorrowful, almost nostalgic, but it never loses any sense of its complex melodic structure.

Components of the band’s sound fit together like a puzzle. If any piece were missing it would totally change the dynamic. For example, the music on its own might blend into the melancholic indie-pop tradition, but Gibbard’s vocal interplay is urgent and distinctive, stimulating the band’s musical landscape. Death Cab For Cutie’s songs are not overtly catchy, but you’ll find yourself singing along after only one listen. Just when a riff starts to sound familiar it immediately veers off in an unexpected but logical direction. Death Cab For Cutie doesn’t hide its sensitivity; Gibbard’s lyrics are honest and sincere. The music elevates his musings with sophisticated changes and a fundamental sense of harmony.

The melodies flow like early Shudder To Think without the abrasive backdrop or the inherent ostentation. “Title Track” showcases Gibbard’s streaming sense of melody: “I must admit I was charmed by your advances your advantage left me helplessly into you/talking how the group had begun to splinter and I could taste your lipstick on the filter.” The lyrics are even clever about being bitter: “When your apologies fail to ring true, (you’re) so slick with that sarcastic slew of phrases like ‘I thought you knew’, while keeping me in hot pursuit” (“For What Reason”). It’s rare that music does exactly what it’s supposed to do, but the members of Death Cab For Cutie complement each other so well.

Death Cab For Cutie actually takes its name from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film (after the Bonzo The Dog Band song), so it, thankfully, isn’t a concession to embarrassing indie-rock cliches. We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes is an astoundingly good album, despite the half-wimpy name. The band barely raises the volume enough to call for a line like: “it’s so appropriate: the way we amplify the sound, and then the neighbors drop by and they ask (us) to turn it down again” (“The Employment Pages”), but the textural pop sound makes up for any lack of noise or energy. Death Cab For Cutie has made a giant stride into the realm of bands not to miss.

Tags: review