First, a Kudos to Amazon for rectifying the previous incident reported on this blog…when approached (for the 2nd time) about their faulty policy in shipping items altogether when you do super-saver shipping, they shipped my new Death Cab CD out immediately and swallowed the $2-$3 shipping at the same time.
Now on to my much awaited review. Death Cab’s “Narrow Stairs” is a dichotomy of too long and too short. On the one hand, “I will possess your heart” is fatally too long…8 minutes and then some, with the first four the same 4 riffs and piano measures, it seemed like Ben and company were just trying to satisfy its Indie faithful who wanted something expressly “non-mainstream”. Adding 4 unnecessary minutes to the track didn’t do it for me.
While one track may be too long, other parts of this CD are too short. In an Itunes world, there is simply NO excuse for an album with only 11 tracks. In my mind, for a CD to be a good deal, there should be incentive to buy it in its entirety in hard-copy. Tori Amos’ American Doll Posse had 22 legitimate tracks on it (2 were short musings), and over half of that 22 were fantastic. I think I have listened and re-listened to Narrow Stairs 10x hoping for 1 or 2 secret songs, some live-tracks, or SOMETHING beyond the 1990s album standard of 11 tracks. Some of their songs are fatally short too…No Sunlight and You can do better than me are fantastic tracks…but they’re cut short, the former under 2 minutes.
All this being said, my complaints on this album are mostly on account that I simply wanted MORE. Altogether, the album is fantastic. I think it’s more reflective of traditional Death Cab than Plans (which, for all intents and purposes, seemed written just to get radio-playability, though it was still good on its own merit). The songs are innovative, even catchy, and I can honestly say I’ve been listening to it for 5 hours straight today, without interruption. In short, it’s like an awesome concert you attend that ends with audience demanding 3 encores…only, on this album, Death Cab doesn’t give us any encores…just 11 great tracks and a unquenched thirst for more.