What happened to Death Cab! What happened to the dreary, rain soaked Seattle memories, the ones that most often ended (or began) with not just a broken heart, but a shattered one. I feel like that was the mass reaction to the band’s 7th full length album, Codes and Keys. Properly described this week as a “pre-breakup” album, the tracks certainly remain cautious in their full embrace of bodied love, but it’s there and the belief in love is stronger here than in any other album in the band’s catalog.
Take “Stay Young, Go Dancing” for example. It’s instrumentals are light, the acoustic guitar leading you in, but the lyrical work is even lighter, as Gibbard exclaims “Cause when she sings I hear a symphony/And I’m swallowed in sound as it echoes through me.” Gibbard feels “alive” at this point, or at least whatever character he’s writing as does, and alive enough to retain youth. What’s a more powerful feeling than that? He sings “Life is sweet in the belly of the beast,” that beast most likely referring to domestication and a newfound lease on life (it was known that at this time, exercise had replaced bad habits in the frontman’s life).
It may not be the most impactful track they’ve ever written, but the inherent sweetness of it all makes it one of the most enjoyable.