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Death Cab for Cutie 

Codes and Keys (Atlantic/barsuk)

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Ben Gibbard now lives in Los Angeles, a town he’s decried numerous times (“Why You’d Want to Live Here,” Postal Service’s “This Place is a Prison”), so it’s probably no coincidence that the first single, “You Are a Tourist,” and the lead track, “Home is a Fire,” discuss an uneasy sense of place. But those are the low points among highs, as copious dream-pop constructions abound on Death Cab’s best record since Transatlanticism. “St. Peter’s Cathedral” is the closest the band has come to capturing the anthemic title track of that 2003 effort, whose refrain “I need you so much closer” will likely be replaced live by “Peter’s” “There’s nothing past this”---bleaker and bigger. Some things change, but some don’t.

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Vol 24, No 52
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