Style: Moody pop/rock; compare to Elliot Smith, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Postal Service
Top tracks: ""Monday Morning," "Unobstructed Views," "Codes and Keys"
Death Cab for Cutie is back in fighting form on Codes and Keys, an album that finds them reconciling the soulful, propulsive pop of Plans with the more ambient and atmospheric leanings of their earlier work. It's a low-key charmer, the work of craftsmen who are less interested in reinvention than in discovering new wrinkles in a signature sound. As such, it's also a grower, the summer singles drawing you in but the moodier, ambient epics winning you over time. They're still a little too sensitive for their own good, but their moodiness is fitting for singer Ben Gibbard's lyrics, which wrestle with domestic contentment and speak warmly of his new wife, actress Zooey Deschanel.1