Listening to Death Cab for Cutieâ€™s first proper release, 1998â€™s Something About Airplanes, there is little indication that the band would someday be headlining major festivals, churning our records for a major label and pretty much adding a touch of indie cred and respectability to mainstream radio stations. Itâ€™s not that the songs are not good, in fact for the most part they are just as beautiful as the latter work Death Cab is more known for; itâ€™s just surprising that the band was able to get so much mainstream attention with little to no compromise of their original sound.
Ten years after the album was first recorded, songs like â€œPictures in an Exhibitionâ€ and â€œThe Face That Launched 1,000 Shitsâ€ still hold up exceptionally well. On Barsukâ€™s re-release, the bandâ€™s first label, thereâ€™s new artwork, liner notes by Harvey Danger front man and scene mate Sean Nelson and a bonus CD of Death Cabâ€™s first live show. The live set, recorded at Seattleâ€™s Crocodile CafÃ© about six months before Something About Airplanes came out, is a nice souvenir for fans of the band â€“ nothing shockingly different as the band had few songs in its cannon at this point â€“ but their cover of The Smithâ€™s â€œSweet and Tender Hooligan,â€ featuring Nelson is the highlight of a an already pretty decent set.
Top Track: â€œSweet and Tender Hooligan,â€ â€œPictures in an Exhibitâ€ and â€œThe Face That Launched 1,000 Shitsâ€
Rating: 8.9 out of 10
Death Cab for Cutie â€“ Something About Airplanes; Limited Edition Re-Release (CD) / Barsuk / 17 Tracks