Almost exclusively, I listen to music on my iPod. So, I popped the new Death Cab into the computer to load it up. Death Cab, however, has graduated to a major label. Atlantic Records has made it impossible for me to hear the promo copy of Plans on my iPod. Reluctantly, I listened to it on an archaic CD player. But I really shouldn't be so snobby. Death Cab for Cutie pleases ears without regards to the type of player.
Death Cab fans will be satisfied with Plans. Even those who may hold the major label status against the band (like me) will admit that they still sound like Death Cab, which is good. Gibbard's smooth voice guides the listener through adorable yet clever pieces of songwriting, sometimes concerning darker territory than past tunes. Though Death Cab does sound mature on past albums, Plans exhibits a definite maturation in both the crafting of the music and the lyrics. There is evidence on some songs, like Gibbard's solo acoustic number "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," that the band is expanding their sound. Though these tracks were my favorites, the more familiar and reassuring tracks don't disappoint either. Plans is a great album. However, the album lacks a sense of coherency and purpose that it seems to be striving for. Though this certainly does not diminish the value of any one song, it keeps a great album from becoming a classic. Plans still receives my highest (almost) recommendation, especially for fans.