The Postal Service Give Up

The Postal Service Give Up
9
There are a handful of bands whose impostors, even when they fail to replicate the original's sound, still do it well; I'll listen, for example, to any band "for fans of My Bloody Valentine." Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello's the Postal Service are not one of those bands, but not because their debut album won't be forever revered by a surprisingly arena tour-sized millennial audience; it's just that Give Up walked a tightrope so fine that nobody, not even Gibbard and Tamborello, will likely ever be able to balance that well again. Yes, "Sleeping In" and "Clark Gable" are still sort of clunkers, but amidst highlights like... well, basically every other song on this album, they're perfectly forgivable. First singles "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" and "Such Great Heights" still pack the same stereo-panning punch as in 2003, and the wind-up to "Brand New Colony" still braces the listener for that skittering, sky-reaching anthem. Sub Pop's reissue of Give Up adds two new songs (which were supposed to surface on a second Postal Service album), "Turn Around" and "A Tattered Line of String," and while they're fairly pleasant, they feel slightly chintzy compared to the robust production of the original album's ten tracks. The inclusion of all the duo's EPs and B-sides in one package is nice, but whether Give Up's reissue was entirely necessary is still questionable: did Give Up ever leave the cultural conversation? (Sub Pop)