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[Off The Record]
Stars graphics
Death Cab for Cutie
THE PHOTO ALBUM
(BARSUK)

A lot of indie guitar is about facing down private demons, but on this young Seattle bandís melodic third LP, singer/songwriter Benjamin Gibbard merely looks for shelter from the outside world. "Itís gotten late, and now I want to be alone," he sings on the opening "Steadier Footing," an understated mirage of tremolo guitar, velvety organ, and distant timpani that shows off the bandís ability to fold indie rockís blustery bash and pop in on itself. Gibbard spends a lot of time here pining for privacy ó "You wanted me to write you letters/But Iíd rather lose your address," he admits on "Information Travels Faster" ó and his bandmates give him the sonic equivalent, doling out misty sheets of minor-key guitar fuzz that swaddle his feathery tenor like a warm blanket. And guitarist Christopher Walla, who also handles the recording and production, is becoming increasingly good at his job: "Blacking Out the Friction" intertwines electric piano and guitar as if they were twin forces contending with Gibbardís thirst for solitude.

BY MIKAEL WOOD

Issue Date: November 8 - 15, 2001

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