The Open Door review by Death Cab for Cutie

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  • Released: Mar 31, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 9.6 (7 votes)
Death Cab for Cutie: The Open Door

Sound — 7
After a long a productive tour promoting their last album "Narrow Stairs", Death Cab For Cutie has decided to drop us with a treat before they head back into the recording studios. This treat is a wonderful little EP entitled "The Open Door" filled with 5 castaway tracks from "Narrow Stairs" with the exception of a demo version of the song "Talking Bird". This collection of songs is quite up-beat in tempo and feeling, which stands in clear contrast to the more somber depressive sound of their previous LP project. The album starts by putting it's best foot forward with undeniably it's best track. "Little Bribes" is a fun palm-muted extravaganza of cuteness and toe-tapping enjoyment. Meanwhile, the clear runner-up on this EP is "My Mirror Speaks". This song could have easily been on "Narrow Stairs", it's a wonder to me how it didn't! It has a catchy rhythum with an addictive hand-clap sounding percussions. From Ben Gibbards asoundingly high falsetto voice to the gentle breakdown after the bridge, this is a truly darling song to listen to. These two songs are separated by less impressive tracks "A Diamond and a Tether" and "I Was Once A Loyal Lover". Although they are not bad songs, they are somewhat bland and unexceptional. They may grow on me in time, but they are most certainly were not my highlights. Finally, Gibbard decides to end it all with a quirky demo track of song of "Talking Bird" that is simply just Gibbards vocals over a single ukulele. It's a sweet end to the EP and the stripped down nature of the song makes you look at it in an entirely different way.

Lyrics — 8
You can always expect a high-quality lyrics when listening to Ben Gibbard, whether it be with DCFC, Postal Service or his collaborations with Andrew Kenny. The first track "Little Bribes" is an ode to falling in love in glitzy Las Vegas, which Gibbard describes as having a "never-ending twilight", while portraying the casino floor as "a basement where the sun has never spilt." Very evocative imagery for the perplexing city of Las Vegas! Meanwhile, "My Mirror Talks" has very introspective lyrics about travelling and never feeling content with what you have. Anyone who finds themselves running away from life will automatically identify with the line "I always fall in love with an open door/Or the horizon on an endless sea /As I look around the ones who are standing right in front of me." This is totally a song for the "On the Road" type wanderer and those who "hide from all that binds," as Gibbard says. Finally, "Talking Bird" is a sweet love song which uses the bird as a metaphor for a girlfriend in a dying relationship. I love the "You're kept in an open cage so you're free to leave or stay/Sometimes you get confused /Like there's a hint that I'm trying to give you," beautifully embodies the feeling when your in a relationship and you want to give your partner space, but your also afraid that giving them space might make them feel your not interested in them.

Overall Impression — 7
Taking into account that these tracks are left-overs from "Narrow Stairs" is reason enough to recognise that even Ben Gibbard's garbage is tasty! I will admit, I had to spit some of it out, but overall, I thought this EP project was satisfying and packed a good punch and set a good mood with just a few songs. I must reiterate that "Little Bribes" and "My Mirror Talks" are the songs this album should be bought for. Yet while these tracks don't reach the creative heights that I feel "Plans" and "Transatlaticism" had, this EP would be a great addition to anyones collection of DCFC music.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I think it's alright. somethin nice to hold us over to till the next album.
    yeah the EP is typical Gibbard brilliance. and you're totally right about the Talking Bird thing, I never really cared for that song until I heard this stripped down version and now I like it, and no longer skip over it like I used to.