eMusic Review 0
If Death Cab's major-label debut, Plans, saw them reach a modicum of mainstream cache, Narrow Stairs is where they gambled with it, bravely experimenting and changing their sound, challenging their newfound audience along the way.
You can almost imagine the band consciously following the work of forerunners like U2 and R.E.M., groups that had risen from the underground to achieve mass success and then testing their newfound audience with stylistic shifts.
Narrow Stairs is by no means Metal Machine Music — or even OK Computer, for that matter — but it is a dark and stormy Death Cab For Cutie, indulging in psychedelic, noisy flourishes and exhibiting, for the first time, some palpable anger. And it suits them.
"Cath," will sound fine next to "Sound Of Settling" when the eventual Best Of… drops, but it's in no way indicative of the sound of this adventurous and complex album.
"I Will Possess Your Heart," both as a song and in its status as the band's first single, is a brazen statement of intent. "You gotta spend some time with me," intones Gibbard and he means it; at eight minutes, this track sees Death Cab discovering, possibly, the first groove of their career.
Written in California,… read more »