Death Cab’s new album explores new range

Hannah Muenzberg

Fans of Death Cab for Cutie may have considered the band’s switch to a major record label the beginning of the end for the group; however, their second album, Narrow Stairs (released May 13), may change their minds.  While Death Cab had released four records from an indie label prior to 2005’s Plans, it was their first record with Atlantic.  Any expectations fans may have had about their follow-up album will be shattered, as Death Cab has taken a new turn in style and sound.

Typically, Death Cab is known for their bright and warm songs; however, Narrow Stairs has somewhat darker tones, showing the band’s range and ability as far as style.  Filled with echoes and synthesizers, the album is much more dramatic than previous records.  However, Death Cab still manages to cover the same topics they so often stick to–love, rejection, happiness, regret–which they portray so well. 

The impressive single off of Narrow Stairs is “I Will Possess Your Heart.”  The song is ambitious and somewhat different from past Death Cab hits.  The track starts out with a strong intro, filled with bass and piano, before being dominated by lyrics that can often remind listeners of a stalker, starting with the opening line: “how I wish you could see the potential/The potential of you and me/It’s like a book elegantly bound/But in a language you can’t read just yet.”

The album is not all dark, though; Narrow Stairs provides a nice, alternative sound, accompanied by some poppy tracks.  Between the album’s smooth, mid-tempo ballads, anthems, and retro vibes, with poetic and at times slightly odd lyrics, Death Cab has proved their credibility as a successful band, no matter what label they may be with.

Hannah Muenzberg