Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Album Review: Death Cab for Cutie - The Open Door EP


Death Cab for Cutie have been known to really understand the importance of the EP. They usually release them as a way to give their fans a hint of what's to come for their next album. With The Open Door EP, Death Cab's fifth EP of their career, they've instead given their fans a hint of what could have been with their sixth full length Narrow Stairs, which released May 13, 2008. These songs were recorded during the Narrow Stairs sessions and the band have been talking about releasing an EP from the sessions for quite some time now. Really, they weren't missing much taking these songs off of Narrow Stairs but it is quite a good companion to go with the album.
The EP starts off with "Little Bribes" which is an upbeat, vibrant alt-country-esque song about visiting a casino and possibly Las Vegas. "And oh so empty were the faces of the dealers and the waitresses around," sings lead singer Ben Gibbard.
There's "A Diamond and a Tether" which mirror's the sound of Narrow Stairs' "You Can Do Better Than Me" and "My Mirror Speaks" in which Gibbard confesses that he's "a man who hides from all that binds and a mess of fading lines
and there’s a tangled thread inside my head with nothing on either end." The song filled with cheerful clapping and familiar high pitched Gibbard vocals probably would have fit better with the album Transatlanticism rather then Narrow Stairs.
The last two tracks on the EP, "I Was Once a Loyal Lover" and an acoustic version of Narrow Stairs' "Talking Bird," are the two that stand out the most on this EP. "I Was Once a Loyal Lover" collaborates fuzzed guitar with an echoing keyboard played by Chris Walla. The sound is different from the constant guitar strumming that is apparent throughout the EP which is why is stands out so much. Not to mention the melody, lyrics about infidelity and the production overall. It really should have been a song on Narrow Stairs, in my opinion just because it would fit with the overall flow of the record.
The acoustic version of Narrow Stairs' "Talking Bird" is simply beautiful. It actually makes me like the song better after listening to it. The guitar sound is very reminiscent to Hellogoodbye's "Oh, It Is Love" and I highly recommend listening to this version of "Talking Bird" even if you don't like the album version...you might appreciate it more.
Overall, this EP is pretty great (maybe minus "A Diamond and a Tether," that's alright,) and if I could describe how it feels to me in one sentence, it's really just a continuation of Narrow Stairs but like I said before, a great part two to go with the album.

Rating: 4 and a half/5
Picture courtesy of thephiller.com

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