After the party was over, the streamers taken down, the paper cups swept up and the punch bowl drained, Barsuk had to figure out how to live life without Death Cab for Cutie. New releases by John Vanderslice and Nada Surf help for sure, but nothing said Barsuk like Death Cab. (Yes, I know they’re still loosely affiliated, don’t write in). So, Barsuk did what they had to do, and give them a proper send off with a live EP featuring songs from their latest tour. And take a look, New Pornographers fans! Does that cover look somewhat familiar? It’s not exact, but it’s close.
Peppered with funny banter from the band, the seven songs on the EP capture a live band at its best. At this point the Bellingham boys had been playing for eight years and had built a solid live act thanks in part to the solid drumming of newcomer Jason McGerr (he taught Smoosh, ya know!). “We Laugh Indoors” and its repetition of ‘I loved you Guinevere’ before a heavy guitar skronk-out opens the collection and then leads into another song from The Photo Album, that being “Why You’d Want To Live Here,” a third appears later in “Blacking Out the Friction” which is mixed with a cover of Sebadoh’s “Brand New Love.” The EP is a great mix of songs from different points in the band’s career with two songs from Transatlanticism (“Lightness” and “We Looked Like Giants”), one from We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes (“405”) and one from the Forbidden Love EP (“Photobooth”).
Plans turned out to be a stunner of a major label debut, but we’ll never forget the indie roots (not that there’s really a big difference). To some this EP might be considered unnecessary, but I find it to be capturing a side to the band that is not often seen, unless you happen to catch them live on a very good night. I’m going to see Death Cab play Seattle’s Paramount Theatre in November, and if they play anywhere near as good as they do on the live tracks on this EP, I’m in for a great show.
Death Cab for Cutie – Forbidden Love EP
Built to Spill – Live
Radiohead – I Might Be Wrong