Benjamin LabTOP 1000 COMMENTATEURSVOIX VINE le 8 avril 2009
Ce n'est pas tant que 'Death Cab For Cutie' se soit jamais vraiment éloigné de son son de base et de la formule qui l'accompagne (des mélodies mélancoliques autour de la voix de Gibbard) mais avec cet album, le groupe semble revenir à quelque chose de plus épuré, à rapprocher de 'We Have the Facts...'. Si l'originalité n'est plus là après quelques années, la qualité demeure et le disque se révèle une bonne surprise autant qu'une réussite. Longue vie à DCFC.
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Forward Motion...13 mai 2008
Cale E. Reneau
- Publié sur Amazon.com
When Death Cab for Cutie signed to Atlantic Records a few years back, many people expected the worse. In the indie music world, where signing to a major record label is often met with cries of "selling out" and steadfast declarations of "their old stuff was better," Death Cab's transition was proof that a major record deal doesn't alway signal the end of a band's better days. Plans wound up being a beautiful album; not near as exciting or breathtaking as its predecessor, but still drenched in Ben Gibbard's unparalleled lyricism and Chris Walla's flawless production. It was an album that found the band's rough edges smoothed out - their more hopeful moments set aside to make way for those of self-doubt and longing.
Narrow Stairs takes the opposite approach. Walla is once again behind the production, but the album has a much more natural quality to it (a feature that not only contrasts Plans, but Walla's own solo album and his work with The Decemberists and Tegan and Sara). As such, it feels more like the band's earlier work: unrestrained and unrefined, free of nit-picking and studio perfectionism. The raw, guitar distortion of album-opener, "Bixby Canyon Bridge," would never exist on an album like Plans, and it's refreshing to hear the band breaking free from the self-imposed restrictions of their previous record.
Likewise, the album's first single "I Will Possess Your Heart" is well over 8 minutes long, something that I can't imagine Atlantic Records smiling on, especially being a single. The song seems hand-crafted to be the opening number to a live performance, with instrumentation slowly building over Nick Harmer's infecting bass line until finally, after 4 1/2 minutes, it's just Gibbard spouting his equally intoxicating, "You gotta spend some time love/ you gotta spend some time with me." Like most, I wasn't sold on the song on the first listen, but after spending some time with it (get it?) it grew on me. It still may not have been the wisest choice for a first single, but doing so seems to be more about making a statement than a marketing decision.
"No Sunlight" is, oddly enough, a very sunny pop/rock song with an indisputably rockin' chorus. Like a good Of Montreal song, its easy-going composition masks its darker lyrics. During the chorus, Gibbard sings, "It disappeared at the same speed/ the idealistic things I believe/ the optimist died inside of me." "Cath..." is equally as depressing, telling the story of a woman who marries out of the fear of growing old alone. Ben's lyrics are as impressive as they always are, lamenting, "Cath/ it seems that you live in someone else's dream/ in a hand-me-down wedding dress," later noting that, "the whispers that it won't last/ run up and down the pews." The song's forward guitars and bouncy instrumentation make it an easy favorite on the album, and one that I simply can't find fault with.
"Talking Bird" is a strange ballad about a parrot, or other bird that can talk. Gibbard trudges through the song with his typically melancholic musings, but knowing the subject matter really makes the song lose any effect that it may have had otherwise. "You Can Do Better Than Be" bursts out of the gate with such fanfare, that it seems more appropriate for a parade than a Death Cab album. Ben begins the song by singing, "I'm starting to feel we stayed together out of fear," over heavily-structured, syncopated snares and bass drums. It's a very cool sounding song and one of the few times on Narrow Stairs in which the band feels like they're trying to branch out.
By far, the album's standout track is "Grapevine Fires," in which Gibbard tells the story of a peaceful moment in the midst of a wildfire. The song is absolutely gorgeous from the start, with soft instrumentation, lush harmonies, and vivid imagery carrying it to its stunning conclusion ("The firemen worked in double shifts/ with prayers for rain on their lips"). "Your New Twin Sized Bed" is more standard Death Cab fare. As such, one could probably figure out the story of the song based on the title alone. It's a pretty track, but nothing that requires any real discussion or dissection. "Long Division" winds up being a much more pleasing song. With an irresistible, upbeat, guitar-heavy arrangement, you're almost guaranteed to sing along to the chorus ("To be the remain, remain, remain, remainder!") and maybe even bust out with a little air drumming. I know I have.
"Pity and Fear" is a song that never really goes anywhere. It doesn't build, change, or affect in any notable manner, and may be doomed to skip button of many CD players. Unfortunately, not even some admittedly cool guitaring in the track's final minute can redeem it. "The Ice Is Getting Thinner" ends the album on a high, if not sorrowful, note. Gibbard describes two lovers drifting apart with such beauty, that it's difficult to even think of a song that could do it better. He croons, "We buried our love/ in a wintery grave/ a lump in the snow/ was all that remained." It is a typical, soft, reflective comedown track to be sure, but you simply can't deny the brilliance of it.
In many ways, Narrow Stairs is a return to form for Death Cab for Cutie. That being said, it doesn't necessarily show them retreading the same path again, either. What Narrow Stairs accomplishes is much more subtle and graceful. It portrays a band embracing their roots while moving towards the future. With their success and notoriety already achieved, the band challenged themselves to make an album that doesn't rely on perfection in the studio, songwriting, or performances; but one that is honest, exciting and natural. It's not exactly reinventing the wheel, but Narrow Stairs is far from a sell out or a disappointment. It is simply another solid album from a band who continues to prove themselves worthy of our admiration. And really, what more could anyone want?
Key Tracks: 1. "Bixby Canyon Bridge" 2. " I WIll Possess Your Heart" 3. "Cath..." 4. "You Can Do Better Than Me" 5. "Grapevine Fires"
8 out of 10 Stars
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
DCFC marches on, with ever better result13 mai 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
After their big-label debut "Plans" in 2005, DCFC took to the streets and toured relentessly. This in turn lead to a longer than usual period in between new studio recording. Now, 3 years later, comes the much anticipated 6th studio albums from these guys.
"Narrow Stairs" (11 tracks, 45 min.) starts off with the best 1-2 punch ever: an epic opener "Bigxby Canyon Bridge", followed by an even stronger 8+ min. brooding "I Will Posess Your Heart" (1st radio single). Wow... these 15 min. of music alone are worth buying the album for. Smartly Ben Gibbard and the guys take a (musically) lighter turn after that, with tracks like "No Sunlight", "Your New Twin Sized Bed" and "You Can Do Better Than Me" (even though neither of them is a 'light' song lyrically...). Other highlights for me include "Grapevine Fires" (with great underlying keyboards) and the somber closer "The Ice Is Getting Thinner". But honestly, there isn't a single weak track as such on here. The songs are sequenced perfectly and it all flows from one to the next. Chris Walla's production is perfectly in tune with Ben Gibbard's slightly darker than usual songs. A terrific album all around (and right up there with 2003's "Transatlanticism", in my opinion).
I had seen DCFC in concert before, but when I saw them at Coachella in late April, the entire band played with a vigor and passion I hadn't seen before. They played quite a few of the new songs (including "I Will Possess Your Heart", which I'm guessing is Nick's (the bass player) favorite new song, but also "Grapevine Fires"), and also bringing a couple of classics such as "Sound of Settling". In all DCFC's set was one of the more memorable of the entire Coachella festival for me. Can't wait to see them again in concert. Meanwhile "Narrow Stairs" is highly recommended!
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Life Cab14 mai 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
After the first time thru I would have rated this album just three stars, but it's kinda growing on me. I like the apt and easy song lyrics. I like various small and subtle production elements, such as the way the lead guitar moves in and around the vocals, sometimes joining, on tunes like "Pity and Fear." And there are various other things on Stairs I appreciate. There's no magnificent tragedy on the new CD to rival "Transatlanticism," but then what ever could? Stairs does have the similarly epic (and slow-building) "I Will Possess Your Heart," but it's quietly optimistic where "Trans..." is all heartbreak and sorrow. For those who felt let down after their first listen, give the disc another try and see what you think. Oh, and by the way, the CD booklet is another minor but cool work of art, something the download-only folks will miss I guess.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Great Addition for Death Cab for Cutie13 mai 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I would like to start out by saying this isn't DCfC's best album, but it is a great addition. Transatlanticism is still their best album, but that's probably not going to change since it's just a great masterpiece. The move to Atlantic records has not made any change for their creative abilities. As many know, Chris Walla (the band's lead guitarist) still produced this album. They have succeeded in creating an album that is different than their others, but still holds their style. Any fan of DCfC should be impressed.
The album starts off with the song Bixby Canyon Bridge. It starts out with the feel of their music from Plans, but around 1:40 there is a change to distorted guitar. I was a little nervous at first, but it was actually a good change for them.
I will Possess Your Heart: I'm sure many people have already heard this song. It is one of my favorites from DCfC. They have a 4:20 buildup without any vocals. There is no doubt of the beauty in this. The rest of the song Ben sings about pretty much being a stalker and if a woman would give him a chance she would love him. Absolutely stunning!
No Sunlight: This song reminds me of The Sound of Settling. It is upbeat and energetic. This one is just a fun song to listen to.
You Can Do Better Than Me: This song is only 2 minutes long, but it their best musical experiment. It starts out with what sounds like a timpani (could be wrong, please forgive me) with a tambourine. No ladies and gentlemen, this is not a Christmas song and it sounds good!
Grapevine Fires: With singing words in front there are some hums in the background. This is my second favorite song on the album. Again, something new for DCfC. There is music in this song as well, I'm just pointing out something new for them.
Long Division: The only thing to say about this one is the fact that it is upbeat like No Sunlight. It's a great song and feels like they are getting back in touch with their old style.
Pity and Fear: Sounds quite ethnic. It's simply incredible. I don't know how else to put this one.
The Ice is Getting Thinner: A hauntingly beautiful song that is perfect for the end of a well made album.
I know I barely touched on some songs and left out others, but that's because I know most people don't like to read huge reviews. If you take anything from this review I hope you understand that they wanted to take their music in a different, and positive, direction. They have done this with each new release and it's turned out to be positive. The best part about DCfC is that you can listen to all their CD's in a row and not get bored because they have distinct differences in each, while still keeping their image of being DCfC.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Narrow Stairs vs. Transatlantacism22 juillet 2010
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a great album. I listened to this album endlessly for weeks after it came out. Before Narrow Stairs, my favorite Death Cab album was Transatlanticism, and I kept going back and forth between Transatlantacism and Narrow Stairs as being my favorite dcfc album. After the dust has settled and some time has passed, I'm still very fond of the cold, wintry sound of Transatlantacism, but I think Narrow Stairs is by far my favorite Death Cab album, and I've been listening to them, and have been a loyal fan, for seven years now. Have Narrow Stairs on both CD and vinyl, and I feel compelled to tell everyone reading this little tidbit that this album sounds so much better on vinyl... My other half and I are taking a road trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles to San Francisco this summer. I'm going to listen to Bixby Canyon Bridge just before I cross the actual bridge myself. I'm going to pull the car over, get out, walk down the path, and follow the steps that Ben took. Hopefully I can reach the water. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll find some bit of understanding about life, maybe not. But it will be fun to try it out, nevertheless. I'll be reading Henry Miller's Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch before I make the trip, so between Death Cab and Henry, it should be a real hoot. Long Division is one of many favorites on this album, I turn it up way too loud every time the song comes on, much to my other half's chagrin! Hopefully Ben and the rest of the band will come out with another kicker real soon... I hope that Ben and Zooey are happy, but I'm also slightly worried that Ben's newfound happiness will change the doom and gloom we've all come to know and love Death Cab for into songs about puppy dogs and rainbows... lets hope not! Peace to all Death Cab fans, and god bless this beautiful group of guys for making such essential, kickass music.