Something About Airplanesby Death Cab for Cutie
The fact that Elsinor and Barsuk, two relatively small labels, conspired to co-release Something About Airplanes should give some indication as to its quality. It's a solid, emotive, and frequently amazing indie rock record that foreshadows Death Cab for Cutie's eventual ascent into the mainstream. Sonically, the band falls somewhere on the dreamier and more pop-oriented end of Built to Spill's sound (particularly on Keep It Like a Secret), alongside the Posies' most pensive tracks, or with Delta Haymax -- that is, dynamic, melodic, and somewhat atmospheric Northwestern rock. What's important, however, is that the composition, arrangement, and perfect vocal harmonies of Something About Airplanes are all hugely effective; the band uses light touches of flute, synth, or cello to add the necessary textures to its well-crafted pop songs, and the result has a consistently impressive and thoroughly engaging quality that rivals Built to Spill's Keep It Like a Secret. Which is quite a complement -- but tracks like "Bend to Squares" and "Pictures in an Exhibition" deserve as much adulation as one can offer.
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This is quite possibly the most underrated CD of all time. Sure, Death Cab's sounds are harder, the sound quality is better, but this is the same band. The lyrics on some of these songs are arguably better than any of those on Plans or Trans, and you can hear the potential in these guys. I've met many Death Cab fans at concerts, schools, etc, but I've met few that like this album. Listen to it. Listen to it again. You won't be disappointed. My favorite tracks (and a possibly a few of my favorite DCFC songs include): Your Bruise, Amputations, Bend to Squares and Line of Best Fit.
Having just read Erin's review, I can't help but say that I have exactly the same feeling: this album is extremely underrated. Yes, I know it is sacrilege to say so, but I think it is just as good as--if not better than--Transatlanticism. And it is definitely better than Plans. In sum, it is perhaps DCFC's best album. Every song is excellent, but I'd say that President of What, Your Bruise, and Amputations have had the most staying power with me. Enjoy!