For those unfamiliar with the Washington-based quartet’s inaugural studio release, this week’s reissue comes at just the right time. Chock full of hushed warblings (courtesy of frontman Ben Gibbard) and achingly somber guitar builds, Airplanes is the ideal sweater-weather listen. Sans the fancy production and crunching theatrics that now fill Death Cab’s albums, the band are at their best, sounding more like a bunch of naive garage musicians with a penchant for poignancy than the Grammy-winning rock stars they have grown to become. The album opener, “Bend to Squares,” holds up as a cello-driven dissertation on love and slit wrists, while “Sleep Spent” is pure, unabashed heartbreak. As for the diehards, the album comes alongside a re-mastered recording of the band’s very first live show at the Crocodile Cafe back in ’98. (Listen close for a guest spot by Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson.)


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