After stunning audiences with a collaboration track on Dntel's Life Is Full of Possibilities
, electronic genius Jimmy Tamborello (of Dntel and Figurine) and indie rock hero Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab For Cutie) unveiled their side project collaboration, The Postal Service.
The Postal Service
Ben Gibbard - Vocals, Guitar
Jimmy Tamborello - Electronics
In electronic music, it's often the most subtle things that make the biggest difference. The Postal Service is an interesting combination of electronic sounds and instrumentation and the emotion and natural ideas of indie rock. While Give Up
is not a strictly innovative record, it certainly is unique. Gibbard's contribution to the record is mainly limited to his signature vocals with a few small guitar riffs on a couple of songs. Despite this, it is obvious that the songs are written to suit his indie stylings. Though the two band members come from two slightly different worlds, they gel together as if they have working together since childhood. Fans who heard Dntel's "This Is The Dream of Evan and Chan" may have been expecting more of the same. While the music of Give Up
recalls the sound that the pair made for "This Is The Dream of Evan and Chan", it has a decidedly different feel. The sound is essentially an indie pop sound fairly similar (but not remotely identical) to that of Death Cab For Cutie with entirely electronic instrumentation. The exceptional electronic percussion recalls Kraftwerk and numerous 80s synth pop groups, but the electronic beeps and melodies display a far more contemporary feel.
The good news for fans of "This Is The Dream of Evan and Chan" is that Give Up
is an incredibly good record, with some of the best songs that either band member has ever produced. The unfortunate bad news is that the album seems slightly rushed in parts. Of it's 10 tracks, a great majority of them are brilliant. However, when the songs aren't great, the fall at the feet of mediocrity. This is, of course, the exception and not the rule with Give Up
, but the fact remains that Give Up
is not perfect. Gibbard's lyrics, while fitting the music extremely well, seem slightly rushed and certainly not at the standard of his work in Death Cab For Cutie. Tracks such as "Sleeping In" are prime examples. Gibbard's vocal performance works for all moods presented on the album and the pairing of his voice with electronics is well done. The electronic melodies with synths, beeps, keyboards and whatever else are extremely catchy and pretty. "Such Great Heights" features cool electronic effects paired with beautiful electronic melodies and crisp drum loops. The female backing vocals, while used sparingly are brilliant when put to use. Not overused or underused, they seem to know when to come in at exactly the right moment. As an album, Give Up
may not eclipse either of the members' full time projects. However, most of the songs on the record are some of the best ever written by either member. Certainly one of the best releases of 2003, many fans will find the sound of Give Up
preferable to Dntel or Death Cab For Cutie, even if the songwriting isn't quite on the same level.
Incredible sound, great chemistry between Gibbard and Tamborello
Beautiful melodies, catchy synths and cool drum loops
Seems rushed at times
A couple of dud tracks
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Such Great Heights
This Place Is A Prison
FINAL RATING: 3.5/5