The collaboration between Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello is an album of breezy electronic pop that updates classic 80s synth-pop with contemporary beats. The line-up also features Jenny Le... more »wis from the band Rilo Kiley. Sub Pop. 2003.« less
The collaboration between Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello is an album of breezy electronic pop that updates classic 80s synth-pop with contemporary beats. The line-up also features Jenny Lewis from the band Rilo Kiley. Sub Pop. 2003.
Susan H. from UNION CITY, CA Reviewed on 3/4/2012...
Great masterpiece! Highly recommend!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
James H. from ROYAL OAK, MI Reviewed on 3/18/2007...
If you like Death Cab for Cutie, this is a must have.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Deliciously sweet & addictive poptronica
nycgirl | new york city | 04/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read a review for this album as "...so good that, in a just world, it would stop the war on its own." Oh, how right that is. A distinctly modern melange of nü wave, dance, alterna-pop, and synth, I'd best describe Postal Service as "Electro-indie". If you're a child of the 80s like me who grew up with New Order, OMD, Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, no need to read further--you'll immediately love "Give Up". In the midst of NYC's current electroclash craze which is so overhyped at times (gosh, just lay down some minimal synths and have some bored models chant vocals), Postal Service is the outstanding contender as the smartest electro band of the year with an album that's so emotional (melody-wise and lyric-wise), so beautiful, and so well-produced that it puts bands like Fischerspooner to shame. Jenny Lewis' angelic, trance-like girlish voice enhances Gibbard's boyish vocals. Catchy, simple-sounding but beautifully complex, every single track---and I mean every single one--is up to par. notable faves are:1- "District Sleeps Alone Tonight" - Angelic and soft, gradual fades of breakbeats, staccatos and instrumentals with enchanting melody and lyrics that speed up and slow down. Gorgeous.
4- "Nothing Better" - Electro pop at its finest. This duet is so unbelievably catchy, melancholic yet bubbly, sweetened with a bouncy bass line and perfectly placed tweaks and twiddles.
9- "Brand New Colony" - An emotional track intertwined with the twinkly theme from Super Mario Brothers. Brimming with nostalgia, you can hear the gold coins spinning and ka-chingin' as you make Mario jump.
10- "Natural Anthem" - A fierce, drum 'n bass-influenced track in the style of Aphex and other IDM'ers. The junglist in me loves this. A great way to end this five-star album.But you'll find your own favorites. Every track was just so satisfyingly good, I nearly cried at the end. You just don't hear people making music like this nowadays."
Junkmedia.org Review- Such Great Heights
junkmedia | Los Angeles, CA | 04/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard knew they were on to something good as soon as they finished collaborating on the track "(This is) the Dream of Evan and Chan." That compelling combination of Tamborello's melodic knob-twiddling and Gibbard's literate vocals and forlorn delivery was the triumph of Dntel's acclaimed 2001 release Life Is Full of Possibilities. Not long after that first collaboration, The Postal Service was born. The relative strangers began recording in December 2001, swapping tracks on CD-Rs through the mail. Listening to the act's debut brings back the same sort of giddiness inspired in me by New Order's Low Life when I first picked it up a decade-and-a-half ago. The Postal Service expertly channels that adolescent spirit with an awkward blend of dance beats and melodic songwriting. However, the duo has updated the sound for the millennial set, pleasantly mixing Depeche Mode beats and bass lines, Pet Shop Boys melodies and Warp Records-styled twinkling tones and clicks. Orchestral samples and pseudo horns add an unusual flavor to "Clark Gable." Chunky, monophonic Casio-sounding keys tie the vocals to the beat in "Nothing Better." Two of the album's highlights appear right at the front end of the record. The first song, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight," leads with brooding organ, before beats saunter in and steadily cruise through the first verse and chorus to a clean, ringing guitar riff. A second chorus pumps even harder and defies you to not sing along. This despite a characteristically bumming realization repeated by Gibbard: "I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving" (Christ, Benny, just stick a fork through my heart, why don't you?). Track two, "Such Great Heights," has already been released as a single. The catchy number apes Rod Stewart's "Young Turks," especially the beat and understated arrangement, albeit in an electro fashion. The remainder of Give Up is solid, though Gibbard's lyrics are less potent by the middle of the record, and Tamborello burrows perhaps a little too deeply into some of the thinner sounds of the cold '80s era that inspires him. "Sleeping In" stumbles a bit with Gibbard's trite invocation of the JFK assassination, but the murmured chorus, "Don't wake me, I plan on sleeping in," that drapes over a quiet acoustic guitar phrase is strong enough to carry the entire song. Perhaps the only shortcoming of Give Up is that the adherence to pop shuts out some of the more interesting electronic elements explored on Life Is Full of Possibilities. "Natural Anthem" is probably the most adventurous Postal Service tune, utilizing a relatively heavy break-beat, a looping string sample and more aggressive production, but clearly the duo's strengths are geared more toward hit-making than trailblazing. So, while the record isn't necessarily an instant classic, the unabashed embrace of simple pop sensibilities, both old and new, make it a record that is hard to stop listening to. Jay Breitling
psychomuse | 12/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Existing somewhere between the musical and lyrical quirkiness of Komeda or Chumbawamba and the trip-hop funkadelic stylings of Massive Attack, you'll find The Postal Service. Perhaps this cross-breeding equals an original beast; though it is, in the very least, a melodical and rhythmic experience that you will enjoy. It might not fatten up your top ten list, but I think you'll find that The Postal Service delivers!"
Ben Gibbard can do no wrong.
trey769 | glendale, CA United States | 02/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Now don't get me wrong. Although I'm a big fan of DCFC and All-Time Quarterback. I will never find something to like about an album just because the singer in it has proven to be amazing before. In fact I tend to judge a singer harsher if I love his earlier work.However having said that, I have to say that this album is incredible. Ben Gibbard's voice soars over electronic heights that are at once both mesmerizing, and totally different from his work with Death Cab For Cutie. Although his voice still has it's characteristic fluctuating highs and lows, and the melody lines are (as always) incredible, the music is much more pop influenced on quite a few tracks, which he carries off perfectly. In fact Jimmy Tamborello (of Dntel and Figurine) creates perfect electronic nuances that Gibbards voice delicately touches as it glides above. Create a perfect combination of the two. I have to say that lyrically I don't find postal service to be nearly as powerful, and image invoking as Ben's work with Death Cab For Cutie, especially Photo Album. However as Ben says on the sub pop site."Some of the songs are very much of a Death Cab mode, but people have been commenting, 'Wow, the lyrics are really different,'" explains Gibbard. "When somebody is just handing you music and you're supposed to sing over the top of it, it feels different than when you're sitting at home with a guitar trying to write a song.""'the district sleeps alone tonight,' 'brand new colony' and 'this place is a prison' are pretty much the only songs that border on autobiographical," he continues. "But everything else is just kind of daydreaming and coming up with ideas for songs that aren't necessarily based in reality, and I think that was a lot more fun for me to do because I'd never really done that before. It didn't feel right for all the songs to be break-up-type songs - they just felt more like the kind of songs that you would want to dance to and you wouldn't want to have a lyric that's super heavy, especially on 'such great heights.' I think 'such great heights' is the first time I've ever written a positive love song, where it's a song about being in love and how it's rad, rather than having your heart broken."So although the fun, pop influence is definitely different from the beautiful darkness of much of Photo Album, and We Have The Facts. Songs like "This Place is a Prison" (One of my favorites on the album) are there as well, a beautiful mellow song of great intensity, with a much darker feel to it. All in all, this album pulls off with great finesse an unlikely, but at the same time totally fitting mix between indie and electronica. Definitely recommended for anyone into DCFC, Grandaddy, Stars, as well as anyone that appreciates good music, or wants to get into something new.Notable Tracks:This Place is a Prison
Such Great Heights
We Will Become Silhouettes"
Three Years Later...
Steven R. Hixson | hell, kansas | 09/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't quite understand the importance of "Give Up" three years ago. I was 18, fresh out of high school, and Such Great Heights was on some commercial for a car or something. I'm 21 now, and I may not fully understand all of what Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello felt with all of this, but I understand my acceptance of this record and all that it gave to me. This album is a full-on assault of emotion and hope. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" is one of the most amazing songs I have heard in my life. The backing vocals are beautiful and pure, as is the feeling the song projects. "Nothing Better" is an amazing duet a la Humanleague that grabs you from the second it starts. The line "dont you feed me lies about some idealistic future" is one of the greatest phrases I have come across in a sea of lyrics that I have absorbed in my lifetime. "Clark Gable" is an up track with a dancy beat and nancy lyrics that any Smiths or DuranDuran fan would absolutely cream over. The melody is beautiful and soaring and gives the listener a feeling of flight. "Give Up" is an amazing album from start to finish and should be absorbed by anyone willing to open their hearts and minds and, for once, feel the emotion of true artists that will, in turn, help them learn about themselves. "