Codes and Keys - Death Cab for Cutie
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 43
  2. Negative: 3 out of 43

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Jun 2, 2011
    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 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.
  2. Jun 5, 2011
    This is how Spoon's latest album should've gone down - they ended up rehashing their sound and although it was good it wasn't interesting enough to warrant another album for those ideas.
    Death Cab For Cutie however, have nailed it. Aside from a few tracks I don't care for (sycamore tree just sounds like another Death Cab song and is completely forgettable), it is really really good. Doors
    Unlocked and Open, You Are a Tourist, Codes and Keys and Unobstructed Views are some of my favourite Death Cab songs now. A perfect blend of their new sound and the old Expand
  3. Jun 4, 2011
    My number one fear was that this would be the worst Death Cab for Cutie album of their career. That fear was not realized this time around. If anything, it's one of their better albums. It doesn't quite match Transatlanticism or We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes greatness, however it is a remarkable record. It is grand, lush, and chalked full of some of the group's best material.
  4. Jun 3, 2011
    An interesting album that pushes the band forward while giving some nods to their previous work. Overall, it's no Transatlanticism but it is just as good, or better, than Plans or Narrow Stairs. I liked both those albums but found them more uneven than Codes.
    "Home is a Fire" is a fresh track that breaks new ground for the band. "Doors Unlocked..." and "Unobstructed Views" continue the
    proggy sound that was started with "I Will Possess Your Heart". "Portable Television" is in the same Gibbard solo type folky category as "Talking Bird". "St. Peter's" and "Underneath the Sycamore" are strong tracks that remind me of "Transatlanticism" and "Marching Band" respectively. The most interesting track is "Monday Morning" which, with is use of synths, reminds me of their old one-off track "Tomorrow" from You Can Play These Songs With Chords. Because of all the different angles and experimentation, a sell-out this album is not. Expand
  5. Aug 16, 2011
    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 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. Collapse
  6. Oct 31, 2011
    The 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
  7. Oct 23, 2011
    This 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.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Nov 29, 2011
    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.
  2. Jun 29, 2011
    Past Death Cab albums have found frontman Ben Gibbard penning youthful lyrics about the wariness and mystery of love, but now, the singer -- who recently married actress/musician Zooey Deschanel -- seems to finally be at peace with his strange, wonderful self.
  3. Jun 17, 2011
    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.