Rarely has there been a band that has disappointed me. There have been bad albums, poor career choices, and “selling out”,  but I’m a forgiving listener, and I hand out pardons where they are deserved. But now, someone has gone too far.

Today I have been exposed to something so heinous, so fowl, that I still feel physically ill thinking about it. My hero, my favorite singer/songwriter of all time, has gone to the Dark Side; And to him I say: “Ben Gibbard, what the FUCK?”

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What I’m referring to is the EP “Codes and Keys” recently released by none other than Death Cab for Cutie. Now mainstream indie kingpins, they were once just the little group from Bellingham that sang in small clubs and captured the hearts of many. This album of “dance remixes” sounds like someone threw the once beautiful sounds the band makes through a wood chipper time portal. There are cowbells, kitschy snare beats, and repetitive stuttering at the beginning of phrases. One song, “Underneath the Sycamore Tree,” remixed by the (surely) renowned Dillon Francis, is like “Party Rock Anthem” vomited all over indie music. I’m reminded forcibly of Skrillex.

WHY? WHY? NO! PLEASE! is all that goes through my head as I listen to these remixes. I’m so disappointed in my idol. I feel like he was approached to do the deal, heard the dinging cash register noises in the background, and signed the deal without even listening to the songs or approving the artists set to do the deed.

I am not alone in my opinion of this album, either. Evan Sawdey (writer for PopMatters) had the following to say: “this is the sound of Death Cab at their most generic, disjointed, and disinterested. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is this: Codes & Keys is the worst album of their career”.

What happened to Ben Gibbard? Surely there is not a single touch of his art in these sad, mangled songs…

I refuse to even rate this album on a scale of 1-5.

This album receives a rating of NEGATIVE TWO, and a drop in the nearest nasty trash bin.

~Catdog

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