I consciously avoided Death Cab For Cutie at Coachella this year. I like them just fine. Plans was a mellifluous little collection of tunes that somehow today remind me of walking around Hollywood’s Farmer’s Market at Selma and Ivar. It was just that there were other acts that I’d wanted to see more. So I skipped them.
Had I heard Narrow Stairs beforehand, I don’t know that I would have been so cavalier about DCFC’s set. While their last album was so jangly and well-intentioned, so full of cotton candy, this new one is a different beast entirely. It’s darker, it’s leaner, it’s more likely to lurk in alleyways than frolic in danedelion patches. Take “Your New Twin Sized Bed” for example, which kicks off with quiet stings and Ben Gibbard’s reclusive, spectral voice sounding not entirely unlike something Nineties-era Manchester might have given us, but then kicks up an insistent, orchestral flavored jam. Maybe it’s because I’ve been all over Saturdays=Youth lately, but it sounds like M83 without all the cinema.
It’s not a complex tune, but if this is the sort of stuff they were belting out on the Coachella stage sixteen days ago, I’m gonna have to take the ol’ DeLorean up to 88, if you know what I mean.