|2000||We Have The Facts and We’re Voting Yes!||Death Cab For Cutie||★★★||63||Rock||Alternative Rock||Indie Rock|
“Title Track” is a really appropriate opening for Death Cab for Cutie’s second record. It starts with the same raw, kind of muddy sounds and sad, lonely feeling found throughout the band’s debut record Something About Airplanes. But once the second verse hits, the band introduces a clear drum kit, a crisp set of electric guitar riffs and layers of production that show there is going to be a lot more depth on We Have The Facts and We’re Voting Yes than was offered before.
That happens throughout the record, which isn’t too different thematically as Something About Airplanes. This album still exists in a sad and wintery aesthetic with a cold mix of instrumentation and isolating vocals, but the band brings in new sounds that expand Death Cab’s musical and emotional range.
There’s slow, soft guitar work that isn’t just repeated acoustic chords, but is instead arpeggiated melodic lines that move. There’s distant organ chords on “The Employment Page” that add a thin layer of wallpaper as an accent along the edge of the track. There is a timing change and electronic textures on “For What Reason,” and some of the chime and harmonics scattered here and there on the back half of the record, mixed with layered guitar work and the more confident vocals. It all makes it a much more memorable project.
There still isn’t too much warmth to be found here, but it’s a lot less obviously doom and gloom than Something About Airplanes, and brings the band much closer to the style they’ll settle in on in the future. The more accessible drums, guitar mixes and Ben Gibbard’s confident vocals on “For What Reason,” “Lowell, MA,” and “405” are akin to Indie Pop singles of the late 90s and early 2000s, even if some of the overall darkness or sparseness still remains. The quicker, louder “Company Calls” brings a more alternative rock style that the band hadn’t explored before. The Epilogue and “No Joy In Mudville” are a return to overarching isolation but have more overall depth than tracks on the earlier album.
It all comes together as a more well-rounded project with a pretty clear vision that still isn’t fully accessible as a pop record but is much more interesting and captivating as an emo-influenced indie rock record. It lays the groundwork for what Death Cab will master a few years down the road, although the highlights aren’t quite as memorable, moving or heartfelt as they’ll become.