Review by James
1. We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes / Title Track – [10/10] – Definitely a solid opening track. Death Cab’s alt-rock atmosphere shines through enormously through this song, gradually building in two phases. The first half is driven by a slow rock song, though it is filtered and sounds fairly muffled. The guitars and percussion are incredible, as they are throughout the course of the album. Once the filter wears off, the cymbals and vocals gain a new sort of freshness that makes the song sound incredible, and creates quite a cool effect as if hearing normally after being underwater (though that’s a bit of a stretch, you understand). The song, very broadly, sort of signifies a depressing morning after. The metaphorical lyrics are quite cool and flow together well, particularly the first verse and chorus. Overall, one of the best tracks on the album, immediately after pressing play.
2. The Employment Pages – [7/10] – Ehhh… the song gets a little better after a minute or so, but personally I don’t like this one as much as some of the others. The guitars and percussion are pretty alright, though the guitar takes a while to get to the good section. The vocals, however, remain consistently irritating throughout the majority of the song. This brings it down quite a bit, though the song is listenable since parts of the song go a little while without any vocals. The lyrics aren’t particularly poetic either. Overall an alright song, but not particularly memorable at all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even hold a candle to the general mediocrity of the next song.
3. For What Reason – [5/10] – Nah. This one is just really whiny, not too much appealing about this. I won’t go into too much detail, but for what reason would you want to listen to this song? (see what I did there?)
4. Lowell, MA – [8/10] – A slightly more up-tempo song that has some pretty good guitarwork in there. The vocals are a little strange, it’s difficult to explain but seems a little delayed. The song is incredibly well-polished and the bass is spectacular in the bridges between the chorus’s end and the verse’s beginning. The percussion is actually quite nice in this one, it moves the song together extremely well, even in its simplicity. Overall, it’s a solid track. Quite a nice song actually.
5. 405 – [9/10] – The majority of this song revolves around delay and feedback. It’s a cool track, the heaviest thus far in the album. Both the harmony guitars and vocals have overdrive layered over them, which actually sounds quite cool, though it takes some time to build on you until you appreciate it. The lead guitar has just a hint of distortion… which sounds cool but often gets drowned out by the other drive in the song. The lyrics are written about Highway I-405, about a potentially vivid relationship that couldn’t last due to an alcohol addiction, and the bittersweet rage that propels the subject to keep going but ultimately never amount. Artistically written, some of the imagery is just spectacular.
“Misguided by the 405, ‘cause it led me to an alcoholic summer,
missed the exit to your parent’s house hours ago,
Red wine and cigarettes, hiding your bad habits
underneath the patio, patio…”
6. Little Fury Bugs – [11/10] – Probably my favorite song on the album. This is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in a long while, despite the lyrics being quite depressing. Gibbard’s voice is absolutely stunning in this… the guitars are haunting. The melancholy, soft atmosphere the song utilizes definitely stands out as a genuinely gorgeous track. Aside from the incredible instrumentals, the lyrics and vocals are absolutely spectacular as well. Due to the song’s incredibly slow tempo, Gibbard pulls off an almost ghostly tone of voice that sounds extremely nice in time with the instruments. The percussion builds and fades, adding to the calming feel the track provides. Overall, this song is flat-out perfect. Every album needs a favorite. Here’s mine.
7. Company Calls – [7/10] – Eh, it’s an alright song. There are parts of the song that I like, parts I don’t. The chord progression is pretty horrible, though the guitars, when not playing the prog, sound fairly nice, particularly after around the first minute and a half. Forget 405, Company Calls is the heaviest thus far. The vocals are actually alright, ranging from Ben’s general calm, flowing voice, straight to a punk, cord-bleeding yell that you won’t find otherwise on this album. I personally find this song fairly bland, though there are worse.
8. Company Calls Epilogue – [9/10] – The slightly slower and softer counterpart to its similar namesake is, in my opinion, much better. Not entirely sure what the two songs have to do with each other, apart from sharing some lyrics, but this one is much improved chord-wise. The song is a lot longer, which is nice. The guitars and bass are crisp and quite nice actually, though the rest of the song is fairly nondescript. All I can really say at this point is give this one a listen.
9. No Joy in Mudville – [8/10] – Dat glockenspiel. The song starts out calm enough, a slow 6/8 rock song with gentle sounding, almost eerie vocals, guitars, and a glockenspiel, which gives the song a hauntingly beautiful introduction. Though the build is slow, by the time the song really kicks off it’s quite the tune. Between the slow and hard rock portions of the song lies a transition of Gibbard’s alto-soprano and simple clicks for percussion. Immediately following are the overdrive guitars and intense snare and cymbals. The song is alright, but it gets fairly repetitive, which wouldn’t normally be an issue, but the song is six minutes long. Apart from that, Mudville brings a fair amount of joy in preparation for a spectacular next track.
10. Scientist Studies – [10/10] – This song finishes off the album incredibly. Like many of their other songs, it begins slowly and medium-soft. It opens with the first verse, utilizing warm guitar, shaker, and reversed piano, giving the song a ghostly atmosphere, however, once the song builds it becomes fantastic and much more hardrock-influenced. The mid-section of the song uses a standard alt-rock feel similar to that of Company Calls and Lowell, MA. By the end of the song, however, the distortion becomes incredible, a burst of energy in an otherwise fairly balanced album. In fact, the last 30 seconds of the song are the consistent echoes of the distortion that last all the way until the end. The lyrics have multiple interpretations, but essentially it’s based around a mildly depressed and completely bewildered college student, expecting all the high school drama to be over but having it come back to haunt them again, as it mentions fairly literally in the second verse. Overall an incredible finish to a great album.
“I thought that this meant something more than broken hearts and new addictions,
We’ll leave our sins within the carpet twine, our bodies dissolve the chemicals over time…”
Averaged Rating – 8.4/10
Opinion Rating – 9/10
- Little Fury Bugs
- Title Track
- Scientist Studies
- No Joy in Mudville