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Narrow Stairs

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Editors’ Notes

With tunes such as “You Can Do Better Than Me,” “Pity and Fear,” and “The Ice is Getting Thinner,” it’s safe to say no one will accuse Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard of getting too comfortable with his band’s continued popular success. The Death Cab cult grows with each release and 2008’s Narrow Stairs should expand their base even further, since it manages to both remain true to the band’s slumbering speeds and heartfelt manifestos while also focusing their sound into a tight, active unit. Backed with electric piano and Gibbard’s earnest vocals, “Grapevine Fires” paints a creepy romantic portrait of a man, his lover and her daughter in a cemetery observing a distant brushfire. “I Will Possess Your Heart” begins with a long, lurking intro before giving way to an obsessive admirer’s verbal promise to win the affection of his obsession. “Your New Twin Sized Bed” lopes with an irresistible melody. Whether the moments are dark or walking towards the light, Gibbard and his indelible tunes evoke a sweetness not often heard in modern pop music.


Formed: 1997 in Bellingham, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Death Cab for Cutie's rise from small-time solo project to Grammy-nominated rock band is one of indie rock's greatest success stories. Launched in the bayside college town of Bellingham, Washington, the group was originally a side project for singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard, an engineering student at Western Washington University who split his time between school and music. Taking a break from his local power pop band, Pinwheel, Gibbard began recording an album's worth of solo material during the summer...
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Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie
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