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CD Review: Death Cab for Cutie

Codes and Keys (Atlantic)


Death Cab for Cutie claim inspiration for their seventh album from Brian Eno's 1975 ambient opus Another Green World. But Eno's space-age dreamsongs are a little more imaginative than Codes and Keys' "Monday Morning" or "Portable Television." The slight tinkering of Death Cab's mounted effects rack comes closer to Eno's work with U2. In other words, there's not much of a difference. Frontman Ben Gibbard shows off a new melodic frill every few tracks. The dour bounce of "Some Boys" and the minor-key turnaround in "Home Is a Fire" could almost build tension. And parts of songs will stick in your head: "Monday Morning"'s coda, "Underneath the Sycamore"'s rueful tinkle. Another Green World is the album Eno fans call his masterpiece. It's hard to imagine Death Cab's fans heralding the thin Codes and Keys the same way.

Dan Weiss

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