Codes and Keys

  • Record Label: Atlantic
  • Release Date: May 31, 2011
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Buy On
  1. Jun 6, 2011
    60
    Until Gibbard can harness this newfound happiness with the kind of lyrical flair his fans are used to, Death Cab remain in danger of being, well, just another indie band.
  2. Kerrang!
    Jun 2, 2011
    60
    Unfortunately, not everything works quite as well [as the opening and final tracks]. [21 May 2011, p.51]
  3. May 31, 2011
    60
    Despite an abundance of textures Codes and Keys seems somehow sparse, empty calories around a hollow centre.
  4. May 27, 2011
    60
    Thanks in no small part to Death Cab, there's now a permanent niche for indie pop that's smart, sad, and refined, and Codes and Keys fills it nicely.
  5. 60
    That being said, though, while Codes and Keys is a pleasing listen, it ultimately does lack the depth to make it really memorable, and some of the sacrifices made to create its poppy aesthetic are terribly unfortunate.
  6. May 26, 2011
    60
    Pleasant songwriting propped by great production: you could level the same charge at a lot of stuff in the charts, and, in fairness, material from Codes and Keys wouldn't sound out of place if it cropped up next to Noah and the Whale on the radio.
  7. Nov 29, 2011
    50
    Keys and Codes, which inverts the title of Death Cab's last record, feels slapped together, which is disappointing when you consider the array of talent present.
  8. Jun 1, 2011
    50
    Death Cab still sound like Death Cab, but Codes and Keys is undoubtedly the least pop record they've made since breaking through to the mainstream with their last indie-situated effort, 2003's Transatlanticism.
  9. May 27, 2011
    50
    Despite the occasional flashes of brilliance, Codes and Keys often feels like a half assed attempt at innovation.
  10. Jun 17, 2011
    40
    Codes and Keys is littered with PDA for Gibbard's new celebrity wife Zooey Deschanel, but this especially garish monument to his muse would have been better placed on one of her She & Him album-wafers.
  11. Jun 1, 2011
    40
    It's a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is this: Codes & Keys is the worst album of their career.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 55 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Jun 2, 2011
    10
    This 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. Full Review »
  2. Aug 19, 2012
    8
    This is a great record. It's the most complete Death Cab album to date. By most complete album, I mean everyone in the band has matured and itThis is a great record. It's the most complete Death Cab album to date. By most complete album, I mean everyone in the band has matured and it shows on this record. Each track is perfectly layered with Ben Gibbard's vocals, Chris Walla's sweeping piano, and the best drumming I've heard in a Death Cab record. The opener "Home Is A Fire" is the only track I find really unlistenable, but other than that one song, The other tracks are great. All In All, Death Cab For Cutie have a complete sound now. Anticipating their next release. B+ Full Review »
  3. Aug 16, 2011
    10
    After listening many, many times I have come to realise that this album is an absolute delight to listen to. Ben Gibbard has done it onceAfter listening many, many times I have come to realise that this album is an absolute delight to listen to. Ben Gibbard has done it once again with his superb lyrics, and deep song-writing. I will go as far as saying that it's possibly their best album yet, and certainly their best album since Transatlanticism. What amazes me about this band is that they continue to be innovate: this album differs entirely to Narrow Stairs, Plans and Transatlanticism, and it has turned out to be remarkable. They may end up being remembered for this album. I am shocked that it was not received as well as it should have been by critics. Songs such "Some Boys", "You Are a Tourist" and "Doors Unlocked and Open" really do stand out on this record, as always, Gibbard choosing to end the album with a beautiful song "Stay Young, Go Dancing".. this is a sign of the wonderful talents still to come from this band. It's often a hard thing to create consistent albums, but Death Cab For Cutie have done it once again. This album is no exception from that. Full Review »