Review : Death Cab For Cutie - Something About Airplanes (Deluxe Edition)
PopmastersOne fall day, during the first few weeks of my freshman year of college, a particularly hip friend from the West Coast asked if I wanted to go see a band called Death Cab for Cutie with her. Upon responding that I had never heard of them, she gingerly dropped a burned CD-R onto my desk. Scribbled on the surface of the disc in black permanent marker was the following: “SOMETHING ABOUT AIRPLANES”. Spinning the album in my dorm room some hours later, the first sound I heard was a mournful chord being dragged slowly across the strings of a cello. Funny, I thought, this is hardly what I expected from a band with such a menacing name.
I’d like to say that I instantly fell in love with Something About Airplanes, but that would be a lie. It took multiple listens and seeing the band live for the melodies to finally sink their teeth in. But once firmly planted, the ten songs that make up Death Cab’s first LP proved hard to shake. The end result? A nearly decade-long love affair with Death Cab for Cutie, and particularly with Something About Airplanes, the rough-hewn debut that, to this day, remains my firm favorite in the band’s increasingly polished catalog....full text
InsoundThe fact that Elsinor and Barsuk, two relatively small labels, conspired to co-release Something About Airplanes should give some indication as to its quality. It's a solid, emotive, and frequently impressive indie rock record that foreshadows Death Cab for Cutie's eventual ascent into the mainstream. Sonically, the band falls somewhere on the dreamier and more pop-oriented end of Built to Spill's sound (particularly on Keep It Like a Secret), alongside the Posies' most pensive tracks, or with Delta Haymax -- that is, dynamic, melodic, and somewhat atmospheric Northwestern rock. What's important, however, is that the composition, arrangement, and perfect vocal harmonies of Something About Airplanes are all hugely effective; the band uses light touches of flute, synth, or cello to add the necessary textures to its well-crafted pop songs, and the result has a consistently impressive and thoroughly engaging quality that rivals Built to Spill's Keep It Like a Secret. Which is quite a complement -- but tracks like "Bend to Squares" and "Pictures in an Exhibition" deserve as much adulation as one can offer. [In 2008, Barsuk celebrated the band's 10-year anniversary by releasing a deluxe edition of Something About Airplanes, which included a bonus disc of Death Cab's first live performance in Seattle.] ~ Nitsuh Abebe, All Music Guide...full text
RollingstonesA strange and beautiful thing happens on this reissue's bonus live disc. During the first song of their maiden Seattle show, in 1998, Death Cab play "Your Bruise" with the melancholy precision that later became their hallmark. Not every cut on their debut is that assured: Guitarist-producer Chris Walla hadn't yet mastered the studio, and singer Ben Gibbard's articulate moodiness isn't consistently memorable. But on the lovely, cello-adorned "Bend to Squares," the band creeps along with deliberation, like children trying not to leave footprints in icy snow....full text
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