Death Cab For Cutie Explores Their Jammy Side

It’s not every day we can compare and contrast Death Cab For Cutie and Phish, so we’re gonna take our shot while we can. We were shocked when DaveO forwarded us a copy of Stereogum’s review of Death Cab For Cutie’s new single. The author compares the beginning of I Will Possess Your Heart to a Phish jam, and he wasn’t that far off. The first few minutes of the track kinda sounds like an outtake from the Vermonter’s The Siket Disc.

Here’s the blurb from Stereogum:

You guys had fun with our game building jokes out of Death Cab’s new record title Narrow Stairs (e.g. Ned said: “How do you confine an obese person to the lower floors of a house?” — and that’s the most politically correct one) … but we think you’re gonna find even more to love out of the record’s first listen, “I Will Possess Your Heart.” Walla’s back on production of course, setting the scene instrumentally for almost two minutes with a groovy bass vamp, a little piano, and atmospheric guitar chatter. Actually, it’s not too far from a Phish jam (that’s not a joke), until Gibbard starts in with the earnest requests to spend time together and the threats of heart possession. This is the bass line that soundtracked that video preview last year. We’re liking it.

While most in the jam scene aren’t that into Death Cab, I love Gibbard’s voice and gentle songwriting. Plus many modern rock bands feature musicians who just don’t have the skills on their instruments. You won’t find that problem with the members of Death Cab, who all are extremely talented players. Our interest is piqued, and we look forward to the Narrow Stair’s leak release date on May 13. Now they just need to work on changing their setlist each night, extending This Is The Sound of Settling to a twenty-minute jam and make an appearance at the Jammys on May 7.

Check out I Will Possess Your Heart, and let us know what you think:

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10 Responses

  1. Props to stereogum for actually understanding what a Phish jam sounds like and not assuming it’s all just endless noodling. This is very Japan tour 2000 once it gets going.

  2. It’s a good song. I’m glad to see Death Cab stretching out and spreading their wings, kind of like they did on “Transatlanticism” (the song). I saw them on the Plans tour and found them to be boring as fuck, with the exception of the encore, where they stretched out a bit (and closed with “Transatlanticism”). They could definitely stand to add some of the Phish spirit to their music. (And that’s coming from a guy who is way not into jam bands.) (Wow. three — now four — parenthetical phrases in one comment. That’s rifuckingdiculous.)

  3. woke up to this on 88.5 in philly this AM and actually didn’t hit snooze… great way to wake up – do love postal service and don’t hate death cab – nice work from them…

  4. It’s really good and I’m glad to see Death Cab moving in this direction but I don’t hear Phish here at all. Yes, it’s “jammy” and I supposed I get why he said it but I still don’t agree that this is much like an actual PHISH jam.

  5. Glad people are enjoying this tune. I love all their albums, even Plans. I think it is pretty damn fantastic but that is neither here nor there.

    They do actually stretch shit out a bit live. They don’t do a 20-minute Sounds of Settling, but they do a pretty serious jam in We Looked Like Giants. Song starts w/the bassist and guitarist having switched instruments, but when it gets to the instrumental break down, bass player gets back on bass, guitar player ditches the bass and plays the keyboards, and Ben Gibbard gets on a mini drum kit for a pretty nasty dueling drum jam. Not kidding, it is pretty outstanding and comes out of nowhere.

    I saw them twice in a row in November 06 and while they repeat a lot of songs, they did change up the setlist quite a bit, which is nice.

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