I cannot lie. Despite it being almost universally liked, especially by critics, I wasn’t very impressed by Death Cab’s last album, Narrow Stairs. Here’s why: their previous album, Plans, was a masterpiece that skillfully combined original melodies, various stylistic devices, various song subjects, and great hooks into an amazing alternative album. Narrow Stairs, on the other hand, felt overly indulgent, too down-tempo, and the song subjects were more abstract and not as user-friendly. Somehow, however, the outtakes from Stairs that ended up on this EP, The Open Door, are more like Death Cab’s older work.
“Little Bribes” reeks of Oasis, but saves itself with urban lyrics and Ben Gibbard’s emotive vocals. “Talking Bird (Demo)” takes a falsetto acoustic guitar into a love song that rings true with anyone, while “A Diamond And A Tether” sympathizes with a woman whose man won’t propose. Both songs would fit well on Plans. Death Cab even breaks out the bass drum for a pounding beat on “My Mirror Speaks.” This is a group that aims high, and they are one of the most consistent bands out there, in my opinion. While some of their work may appeal to certain people, and some to others, everybody’s likely to find something they like in the indie-influenced introspective tunes that borrow as much from classic 70s pop as they do from the current scene.