In the age of short attention spans and declining record sales, artists more than ever are trading in full-length albums for EPs, but few stand out like Death Cab For Cutie’s The Blue EP.
With the five-track EP, Death Cab For Cutie has managed to create something unique and unexpected while still being distinctly DCFC.
The indie band has been together for over two decades, so it has nailed its signature sad yet clever lyrical masterpieces. While some argue that each Death Cab song sounds the same, The Blue EP proves otherwise.
The obvious highlight of the collection is “Kids in ’99.” The track is the most reminiscent of Death Cab staples like 2005’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” or 2011’s “You Are A Tourist.” But, in a way, “Kids in ’99” somehow still feels brand new.
“Kids in ’99” sees frontman Benjamin Gibbard at his songwriting peak — honest, relatable, nostalgic and a bit depressing. The track chronicles a trip down memory lane to the glory days of the late ’90s when kids still played outside, and the worries of adult life were nowhere to be found.
“In the waters where we used to swim / Where we thought we would be young forever / The beads that glisten on your sunburnt skin / Evaporated in the flames and embers,” Gibbard sings.
The Blue EP is lyrical perfection, but it is also making a statement with its instrumentals. While many of today’s alternative bands prefer to go the pop-rock route so as not to lose crossover radio play potential, DCFC did the exact opposite. It’s almost as if the band is taunting the conformists, showing off its lengthiest old school instrumental breaks because it can.
The project opens with “To The Ground,” a haunting five-minute track with defining riffs and eerie finishing production. Straight away The Blue EP breaks the mold of concise, electronic and obvious music in 2019.
“Blue Bloods,” the EP’s closing track, feels a bit more dream pop than any of the band’s other endeavors, and exploring this new wave of indie paid off for the Washington-hailing four-piece. The track offers a melancholy storyline about losing the free spirit who could never be tied down.
A staticky, garage band instrumental outro on “Blue Bloods” closes the EP on a high note. It transports listeners to a live show jam session so much so that it is easy for one to forget they are listening to the studio cut.
With The Blue EP, DCFC proves that some people still like to play real music. Even if most of the kids born after ’99 won’t take the time to listen to each riff and phrase intently, piecing together the emotions generated like a jigsaw puzzle, somebody will, and DCFC knows that.