Death Cab for Cutie, Something About Airplanes

Chris Ryan

By Chris Ryan

on 08.29.11 in Reviews

Death Cab’s first full-band album, and the first full-length to feature the band’s driving creative partnership of Gibbard and guitarist/producer Chris Walla, is very much the product of the band’s surroundings, at the time. Something About Airplanes sounds like a band that listened to a healthy amount of Built To Spill and played shows with the likes of 764-HERO, while certain tracks, like “Sleep Spent,” owe their entire existence to the then in-vogue slowcore movement.

Latecomers to the band will be surprised to hear the presence of a Farfisa organ (on “President Of What”) and the reliance on crash cymbals by then-drummer Nathan Good; what they’ll be most shocked by is the sheer anonymity of the band.

Something…is really a bridge album — Gibbard’s transition from solo artist to band member/leader — with five of its songs appearing, in a more stripped down fashion, on the all-Gibbard-tracked You Can Play These Songs With Chords. You can imagine Gibbard frightened of his new musical surroundings, as tracks like “President Of What” find his voice cloaked in reverb and sounding confused, singing, “Entered the scene, I was told, on, I think it was a Monday.”