Death Cab for Cutie

Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)

Narrow Stairs sounds just like Plans, right down to the obvious production, weepy lyrics and inoffensive guitar, continuing Death Cab's tradition of aping Morrissey lyrics without Moz's counterintuitive turns of phrase or dark jokes.

Songs like "Long Division" seem the product of some sort of indie-rock nerd-crafted lyric generator: "And he had sworn not to be what he'd been before/ To be the remainder." Get it? On the plus side, like all Death Cab albums, there are beautiful brides—such as on "I Will Possess Your Heart," although it comes seven minutes into the song—and thoughtful, simple tunes such as "No Sunlight." But in general, this album is the opposite of a surprise and quite close to caricature.

 
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