Music Reviews: Death Cab For Cutie, Duffy
Making the jump from an indie label to a major one can spell disaster, and many a fan heralded the demise of Death Cab For Cutie after their unfairly criticized Atlantic debut, 2005s Plans.Again boasting slick production and a new direction for their sound, Death Cabs follow-up, Narrow Stairs, will shatter any expectations about this band and here its a compliment.Typically grounded in warm and bright flavors, Death Cab have widened their scope dramatically on Narrow Stairs, with synth providing dark tones and biting atmosphere the disc floats and echoes.Death Cab still cover the same heartfelt territory love and happiness, rejection and regret just with a lot more aplomb.Disc opener Bixby Canyon Bridge provides a jolt, with a soft intro and frontman Ben Gibbards emotive vocals lulling you in before a hard riff hits you over the head.Impressive lead single I Will Possess Your Heart boasts an ambitious intro maybe too much so propelled by bass and piano before Gibbard flashes his typical eloquence: How I wish you could see the potential/The potential of you and me/Its like a book elegantly bound/But in a language you cant read just yet.The disc is nicely balanced between driving rock the poppy No Sunlight, anthemic Cath, and joyous retro vibe of Long Division and Pity and Fear and moody mid-tempo ballads a poetic Grapevine Fires and the self-deprecating oddity of You Can Do Better Than Me.Narrow Stairs is a knockout, and will make you throw out everything youve come to know about Death Cab For Cutie.CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: Equally sad and romantic, Your New Twin Sized Bed is a sweet lament to heartbreak, and Gibbards longing vocal will touch anyone whos spent a rainy day crying in bed.
Duffys debut album could slip in between Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield on a collectors shelf, but the 23-year-old pop-soul ingenue says she developed her sound without hearing either artist.Still, the singer-songwriter, who grew up in a remote Welsh village where top-40 music ruled, embodies the style and substance of a classic 60s soul diva.She co-wrote each of the ten tracks on Rockferry, an album all about old-fashioned heartbreak. On the title track, Duffy has a bag of songs and a heavy heart. She tells a lover theyre finished in the sparsely arranged Warwick Avenue, bemoans his lack of attention in Hanging On Too Long and tries to keep herself from the arms of a cheater in Stepping Stone.She knows shes a fool in love and pleads for compassion on the super-catchy single, Mercy. Duffy taps into her inner Aretha Franklin on the electro-tinged tune, begging for mercy over a bouncy chorus of yeah, yeah, yeahs.While none of the albums other songs are as punchy or uptempo and this toe-tapping track, Duffy delivers a solid, soulful debut with the same retro appeal and promise Amy Winehouse generated with 2006s Back to Black.Rockferry only lags on its final tune ironically the albums most positive. A soaring anthem about lifes possibilities laid over an orchestral backdrop, Distant Dreamer sounds like the theme song for a cheesy childrens film.CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: A lone guitar provides the melody and Duffy lets loose with a lovesick wail as she implores her baby to spend your time on me in the soulful and spare Syrup & Honey.
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