Death Cab for Cutie The Photo Album

Bellingham, WA's Death Cab For Cutie are one of those truly great bands that takes every ounce of emotion out of you while you listen. Not quite an emo band, but often compared to bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Pedro the Lion (who have recruited DCFC singer Ben Gibbard to occasionally play bass), DCFC has the sorrow and sentiment that gives most emo bands that label. The Photo Album follows the band's two previous albums by blending soft songs with loud guitars and crashing drums. As always, Gibbard's vocals are the main focus, because even at his toughest moment he can still only be "Gentle Ben." Whether it is the way he innocently pronounces "highway," on "A Movie Script Ending," or yells through distortion on "We Laugh Indoors," Gibbard never becomes aggressive. "Coney Island," the climax of the record, is a sad, childhood memory of the amusement park, which shows Gibbard at his most vulnerable and beautiful. Not much of a departure for the band, The Photo Album continues DCFC's tradition of releasing top-notch, sad, indie rock songs that even the strongest football players could not avoid crying over. (Barsuk)