One reason Seattle's Death Cab For Cutie became an indie-rock godhead is that the band's members are so clearly comfortable in their own skins (and sweaters and thick black glasses). They play literate, nerdy, slightly fey pop, and they do it well.
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So guitarist Chris Walla sounded like he was making a wry joke when he told Pitchfork that the band's long-time-coming new album, Narrow Stairs, was "weird," "spectacular" and "creepy," with "lots of blood." But then its leadoff single, "I Will Possess Your Heart," dropped, and the seven-minute jam grooved on a hypnotic bass line and twinkling piano tones for damn near five minutes before singer Ben Gibbard uttered a single warbly word. And now the brainy shoegazers are poised to find a new audience with the Coldplay-Maroon 5 crowd...or, as Stereogum suggested, maybe even Phish phans. Which isn't to say they won't save their last hit, the sprightly "Crooked Teeth," for a big encore.