Death Cab For Cutie: Codes and Keys  

Atlantic

Codes and Keys incorporates myriad and often surprising influences on such songs as "Home Is a Fire," which boasts a smart, slinky drum and bass-style rhythm. Textural wizard Alan Moulder mixed the record, and his fingerprints are all over it. But the massive audio attack feels out of sync with Death Cab For Cutie, which finds itself buried underneath a bloated studio budget instead of expanding with it. Ben Gibbard's increasingly featureless lyricism serves as an afterthought to the overall sound, which unfortunately feels more like trend-hopping than an inspired change of course. I don't want to give up on this band — the band that birthed a modern classic in We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, and the band that more or less paved the way for the indie pop explosion of the past decade. The point is, at one time Death Cab For Cutie had a point. And now? Not so much. (2 out of 5 stars)

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