In reacting to fan disappointment over his band’s recent releases, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard commented, “We’re all different people, I’m a different person. I’m not a 22-, 23-year-old person going through the things that I was going through at that time, listening to the music I was listening to then, wanting to emulate these other kinds of records; it just can’t happen.”
So, heart-on-sleeve melodrama isn’t Death Cab’s thing anymore; fair enough. They’ll just have to be ready to lose some followers because of it. The absence of that angsty, 20-something perspective is one of the (several) reasons their new album, Codes And Keys, stinks in comparison to their previous releases.
Gibbard’s definitely wrong, though, when he says “it just can’t happen.” Maybe the guys in Death Cab haven’t figured out how to grow up as a band—and be grown-ups—while approaching music from a naïve, conflicted angle, but Camp Radio know the score: high school doesn’t end. Our circumstances may change, but our interactions are no different than they were ten, 20 or 30 years ago.
The dudes in this Ottawa trio are well past their formative years—singer/guitarist Chris Page fronted The Stand GT in the ’90s, bassist Dave Draves has produced albums for notable names like the Wooden Stars, Julie Doiron, Gentleman Reg and Kathleen Edwards, and drummer Scott Terry splits his time between the Fucking Machines, Flecton & The Dreamcatchers, the Banditas and Andrew Vincent & The Pirates—but you wouldn’t know it, listening to Campista Socialista. It’s like they’re the living incarnation of the youthful bewilderment in Weezer’s Blue Album.
There’s no relaxing for this disc; it’s a 32-minute, dizzying juggernaut of crunchy, swoony, manly power pop. If they played it through from start to finish in a live performance, they’d collapse on the stage in an exhausted heap at the end, and if you’re thinking “Guided By Voices,” you’re not far off.
Check out “Murder On My Skin” below.