DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
From Galaxie 500 to Creeper Lagoon, indie rock has never lacked for head-in-the-clouds romanticism, and Death Cab for Cutie--a quartet formed in Bellingham, Washington, about an hour north of Seattle--is making sure there'll be no shortage in the foreseeable future. Death Cab's recent second album, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes (Barsuk), is so sweet it could send a diabetic reeling and so languid it should carry an advisory against operating heavy machinery. Songwriter-guitarist Benjamin Gibbard's vocal and guitar parts echo each other, both unrolling in steady, unhurried patterns that occasionally climb high and loop around; they're so pleasant I don't even mind when he recycles his favorite melodies. Unlike Built to Spill or Quasi, fellow heart-on-the-sleeve rockers from the rainy northwest, Death Cab are less melancholy than overawed, and while this can sometimes come off as empty-headed, at their best they seem to be groping their way to a better handle on the big picture. Anyway, they're still young: since they started playing a little over two years ago, they've built a remarkable word-of-mouth reputation, even outside Seattle, and I doubt any of them expected to be touring the country behind an album recorded at their bassist's mom's house. Friday, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Christine Taylor.