Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie

Forbidden Love EP

Barsuk

Death Cab for Cutie’s new EP may only have five songs on it, but it hardly gets old. Four fifths are mellow and smooth, lovely as you’ve come to expect from a band that sounds like a melodic version of Eliot Smith merged with the broken-down slowness of Low and the beauty of Belle & Sebastian. The more rocking number, “Song for Kelly Huckaby,” is something a bit unexpected — normal Death Cab for Cutie with the volume and distortion cranked up intermittently. Prepare not to be blown away, though. They still know how to keep calm.

Fans who have the band’s last album, We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes, may be disappointed that the EP actually only contains three new songs and two remakes via an acoustic version of “405” and an alternate version of “Company Calls Epilogue.” Still, the disc is wonderful even simply for the lead-off track, “Photobooth,” which is so unabashedly straightforward that its lyrics sink with a weight of cryptic reflection. A quietly quasi-funky drum machine rattle gives the song its tempo, and the modest guitar and soft vocals of Ben Gibbard give the song a frighteningly sensitive melody that takes Death Cab for Cutie to the prettier side of indie-pop.

Barsuk Records, P.O. Box 22546, Seattle, WA 98122; http://www.barsuk.com

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