Q MagazineJun 7, 2011Perhaps Codes And Keys's seemingly illogical sequencing of songs makes sense if they wish to lure their audience into thinking it's as-you-were. But it's not: things are different and better. [July 2011, p. 110]
May 24, 2011The positivity is hardly worry-free, and the arrangements, shaped by My Bloody Valentine mixologist Alan Moulder, add disorienting details (the dubby ghost vocals on "Doors Unlocked and Open") for those listening closely. But at core, these are resplendent songs, the sound of a sad-sack acquiescing that life might be pretty awesome after all.
Kerrang!Jun 2, 2011Unfortunately, not everything works quite as well [as the opening and final tracks]. [21 May 2011, p.51]
Jun 2, 2011This album is officially one of my favorite albums of the year and it is easily the best album death cab has put out since Trans. This writingThis album is officially one of my favorite albums of the year and it is easily the best album death cab has put out since Trans. This writing is spot on, the instrumentation is crisp and Ben Gibbard's voice shines. This is a big step in the right direction after taking a couple steps backwards with narrow stairs. I highly recommend this album.… Expand
Oct 23, 2011This is just the best songwriting Ben Gibbard has ever done, gorgeously produced and performed. Only someone attached to his previous darkerThis is just the best songwriting Ben Gibbard has ever done, gorgeously produced and performed. Only someone attached to his previous darker themes could fault this lighter and more creative direction that "Death Cab" has taken.… Expand
Oct 31, 2011The major departure for Seattle Alt. rockers might be surprising for previous fans, but it is an agreeable opinion that the album is a greatThe major departure for Seattle Alt. rockers might be surprising for previous fans, but it is an agreeable opinion that the album is a great one. The softcore rock can appeal to most everyone, the love baldas well done with unique ways of creating sounds. Especially on tracks like "Codes and Keys" and "Home is a Fire", where sounds like toy keyboards and echoey voices play up the emotionally charged lyrics. It's a well done and heartfelt album that is as powerful as it is catchy, something that can't be said for most.… Expand
Jun 2, 2011Although I do not think this is their best work, I definitely think this album should be accessible to Death Cab fans and beyond. "You Are aAlthough I do not think this is their best work, I definitely think this album should be accessible to Death Cab fans and beyond. "You Are a Tourist" is arguably a Top 10 Death Cab song of all time and they definitely were correct when they said the album is less guitar driven. What I really love about this band is their ability to continually make good albums. That being said, they peaked at Transatlanticism but have since released 3 solid listens of albums. This album is definitely worth checking out.… Expand
Jun 30, 2011After Narrow Stairs, I was a tad worried, but only for about a minute. You could call it a return to form, but I think it should be noted it'sAfter Narrow Stairs, I was a tad worried, but only for about a minute. You could call it a return to form, but I think it should be noted it's change in direction. The band stated their main inspiration for this record was Brian Eno's Another Green World, which is noticed in the landscape and rhythm of the songs. Each song has it's place and there are no duds. Great for driving down the highway.… Expand
Dec 19, 2015In my opinion, "Codes and Keys" is a very underrated album. Not as woefully underrated as DCFC's 2005 release "Plans," but underratedIn my opinion, "Codes and Keys" is a very underrated album. Not as woefully underrated as DCFC's 2005 release "Plans," but underrated nevertheless. Maybe this is the effect of what I call "The Curse of Transatlanticism." The "curse" is that fans and critics alike are expecting every DCFC album released since the magnificent "Transatlanticism" to be of that standard, which is not only impossible but thoroughly unfair. Instead Ben Gibbard and his bandmates have done what every great artists does: grow creatively and take risks.
As for "Codes and Keys," the songs grabbed me instantly: starting with the opening atmospheric, electro-tinged "Home is a Fire." This song is one of the greatest songs to open an album I've ever heard, much like "The New Year" which opens "Transatlanticism." The title track "Codes and Keys" follows: an uptempo piano and synth ditty with pointed, memorable lyrics. The album continues with three more strong, uptempo tracks ("Some Boys," "Doors Unlocked and Open," and the particularly strong "You are a Tourist") before coming to somewhat of grinding halt with the slow burning, ode to love "Unobstructed Views," which is pleasant but not particularly memorable.
The album begins to pick steam again with the mid-tempo, catchy "Monday Morning"; a song not dissimilar in style to "Your New Twin Sized Bed" from DCFC's previous full length release "Narrow Stairs." The remaining four tracks are not as nearly as strong as the first five, with "Underneath the Sycamore" being the only one I liked.
If one must compare "Codes and Keys" to "Transatlanticism," the former is very much "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" to the latter's "Dark Side of the Moon." The overall upbeat sound of "Codes" is largely due to the fact that Gibbard was happily married at the time of the album's composition. Gibbard himself stated "I would be remiss if I tried to continue writing in a solely melancholic voice, given the fact that now I'm a married man." Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately if you're a fan of the darker stylings of DCFC), Gibbard and his wife divorced just five months after "Codes" was released.
In sum, I believe that "Codes and Keys" is very much on par with "Transatlanticism" and "Plans" and certainly much better overall than "Narrow Stars" that preceded it and "Kintsugi" that followed.… Expand
Sep 17, 2011Death Cab For Cutie's "evolution" has merely consisted of depression and angst turned joy and fairy dust. It's kind of annoying, and while theDeath Cab For Cutie's "evolution" has merely consisted of depression and angst turned joy and fairy dust. It's kind of annoying, and while the angst in their early records was still accompanied by a certain happiness and escapism, it also entailed the exploration of human emotion that could only be expressed through music. "Codes and Keys" is the same song on every track, the same emotion, the same little trick that needs a shake-up from repetition.… Expand
Published: May 10, 2011We've selected 25 of the biggest albums arriving between now and September, including new discs from Death Cab for Cutie, Lady Gaga, My Morning Jacket, Lil Wayne, Jane's Addiction, and more. Plus, listen to full tracks from each album.
Awards & Rankings
|Lemonade - Beyoncé|
|1971-1981 [Box Set] - Cluster|
|You Will Never Be One of Us - NAILS|
|Coloring Book [Mixtape] - Chance the Rapper|
|Centres - Ian William Craig|
|Close to the Noise Floor: Formative UK Electronica 1975-1984 [Box Set] - Various Artists|
|Vile Child - Milk Teeth|
|A Moon Shaped Pool - Radiohead|
|Love & Hate - Michael Kiwanuka|
|Upland Stories - Robbie Fulks|
|Puberty 2 - Mitski|
|Hollowed - Ital Tek|
|A Sailor's Guide to Earth - Sturgill Simpson|
|Strange Country - Kacy & Clayton|
|This Is Where I Live - William Bell|
|Nerissimo - Teho Teardo|
|Misadventures - Pierce the Veil|
|untitled unmastered. - Kendrick Lamar|
|Stranger to Stranger - Paul Simon|
|Midwest Farmer's Daughter - Margo Price|