Their seventh full length studio album sees Death Cab return with confidence and vigour. Without a doubt, Codes and Keys is one of the band's finest albums (up there with 'We Have the Facts' and 'Transatlanticism') and is certainly an improvement over the decent, but comparatively weak Narrow Stairs.
Prior to buying this, I noted with some interest the many reviews which claimed Codes and Keys to be a particularly experimental, synth-driven affair. However, now that I am pretty familiar with the album, I can only conclude that those making such claims must have been listening to a completely different album. In reality, Codes and Keys is no more or less experimental than anything else the band has ever put out.
However, at times, it is also clear what the band has been listening to during the creation of the album. 'Some Boys' is very reminiscent of Animal Collective and title track 'Codes and Keys' has an almost Arcade Fire vibe to it. That said, as similar as those songs may be to the aforementioned bands, they are delivered with taste and style and sound like homages rather than blatant rip-off since DCFC still sound like themselves.
All in all, Codes and Keys presents a strong suite of songs: 'You Are a Tourist' is an infectiously breezy pop song, 'Monday Morning' the perfect single but the highlight has to be 'St Peter's Cathedral' which also features some of Gibbard's best lyrics. Ultimately though, save the rather dull and drawn on 'Unobstructed Views' there isn't a bad song on the entire album.
So if you're a fan of Death Cab For Cutie, you are doing yourself a major disservice by missing out on this fantastic album. Highly recommended.