// SP CD 595 // Sub Pop Records
There’s something comforting about the way Jimmy Tamborello (LA’s Dntel) and Ben Gibbard (Seattle’s Death Cab For Cutie) collaborated to make this record. After initially working together on Dntel’s ‘(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan’, Gibbard started receiving CDs from Tamborello with beatsy electronic music, which he then manipulated in his computer, adding melodies and vocals along the way. A fellow Seattlite, Jen Wood, also added her vocals to tracks such as ‘Nothing Better’. It’s a mixture of new recording technology and old-fashioned communication that works like a dream - ‘Give Up’ is fresh, original and immediate.
The sound is best described as ‘delicate electro pop’, with elements of The Human League or early Depeche Mode, but also artists like Ben Folds and Ween. Don’t let those references put you off - the ‘bleeps’ might come straight of the 80’s, but the beats and guitars are contemporary. The final track ‘Natural Anthem’ wanders into drum and bass territory - it manages to avoid being too much of one genre.
Standout tracks are the delicious opener ‘The District Sleeps Alone Tonight’ , the single ‘Such Great Heights’ (available as a free mp3 download from the bands website), the dreamy ‘Recycled Air’ and ‘Brand New Colony’. However, this is an album with no filler, everyone is a gem in its own right. There’s also the added delight of Jeff Kleinsman’s beautiful sleeve artwork (these things are important!), a collage of decaying Art Deco and 30’s black and white photographs.
The Postal Service official website