Album Review: Death Cab For Cutie – The Open Door EP

Death Cab For Cutie
The Open Door EP

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The Open Door EP

The Open Door EP

A welcome treat to tide fans over until their next full length album, The Open Door EP is a collection of songs that didn’t quite make the cut for the runaway success that was Narrow Stairs. Described by bassist Nick Harmer as “part of the Narrow Stairs experience”, the EP holds its ground and manages to avoid sounding like the kind of castoffs usually reserved for rereleases and bonus CDs.

The EP opens with ‘Little Bribes’, an account of seedy casino culture.  Even an open door can harbour shadows:  “Pretend every slot machine is a robot amputee waving hello, the people stare into their eyes, and they feed them little bribes”.  Despite such subject matter, the melody is remarkably light and upbeat, demonstrating the slight lack of sync with Narrow Stairs.

‘My Mirror Speaks’ could well have been at home on Plans, the band’s 2005 release.  The most layered track, frontman Ben Gibbard sings of “A tangled thread inside his head, with nothing on either end”.  His trademark warbling is given depth by the steady percussion and looping guitar riffs that unfold.

The final track is a demo of ‘Talking Bird’ that features Gibbard with only his ukelele as accompaniment.  An intimate melody, it’s hard to imagine Gibbard playing this to any more than a handful of people, but could frame a perfect moment in your life, given the chance.

The Bellingham boys have booked sell-out shows in both Bellingham and Redmond, making Spokane your last chance to see them in Washington for a while.  For those of you not lucky enough to catch them this time around, I leave you with a studio recording of ‘Talking Bird’:

Death Cab For Cutie – Talking Bird (Live From Seattle)

The Open Door EP is out now on Atlantic records.

Nicky Andrews


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