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HALL OF FAMEon 13 December 2009
`Narrow Stairs' is another solid album from Death Cab For Cutie and whilst it isn't a departure from previous albums, when the music is as good as this you wouldn't want it to be. You will find their distinctive sound and song-writing here and stand out tracks have to be `I Will Possess Your Heart' which has an excellent build up before you get into the actual song itself. I also enjoy `Pity and Fear', but other people don't rate this too highly, but that's what is great about this band, they can appeal to many people and what stands out to one will pass another by. The booklet is excellent with all the lyrics and great design and I love getting a decent booklet with an album rather than a flimsy bit of card with just the production credits that are so often used these days. This isn't quite as good as `Transatlanticism' or `Plans' but they were both outstanding albums and will be pretty hard to beat. Saying that this is still very good and well worth a listen if you enjoyed this bands previous music.

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on 24 October 2015
This album initially doesn't appear as creative and appealing as the previous few albums (Plans, Transatlanticism) but after a few listens, certainly a few of the tracks shine amongst an otherwise 'average' album. Top tracks include Cath (which will immediately appeal to fans of the older, The Photo Album -era of Death Cab for Cutie and is a personal favourite), Bixby Canyon Bridge, Twin Sized Bed and Long Division. The more 'experimental' track, I Will Possess Your Heart is eerily atmospheric and certainly succeeds in creating the frosty scene it strives for - however the intro does not fare well with repeated listens, becoming rather repetitive and potentially quite skip-able.

Overall, if compared with the style of the previous albums, it may be disappointing in places, but as a darker sounding, simpler DCfC album, it is certainly worth the purchase for the tracks specified.
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on 12 September 2016
Sadly my disc arrived with a scratch in it and the second half does not play from track 5 onwards.

Got my money back and reordered elsewhere.

Some great tracks, there are great high points but the ones inbetween let this disc down. Grapevine fires is a standout song and I will Possess your heart as well however I think the long intro works better on the Video clip.

The song You can do better than me really is the classic that a lot of restless guys (and Girls) can relate to. It is a bit bleak if you want an upbeat song try No Children by The Mountain Goats, but hey Upbeats songs are not in the Realm of DCFC. Good band Good album.
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on 21 July 2011
After finding this album recommended on iTunes I checked out the previews and liked what I heard. I have been listening to it for a couple of days and am still getting into it (I know its an old album). I am not massive on the indie scene but getting into it slowly. If I was choosing a favorite song it would be Cath.... So it is a good album but I doubt it will be up there in my top 20 albums even after some extensive listening.
UPDATE: This is actually a good album. It does take some listening to but yes it gets better the more you listen to it!
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on 17 November 2017
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on 3 February 2018
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on 5 May 2015
Great Album
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on 9 November 2013
Even though this record is not the best that Death Cab as produced, but still is a hell of a record!
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on 14 June 2008
I'll begin by saying that I am completely new to this band. There are some reviews here from long-term fans and I just wanted to add the perspective of someone hearing the album without any previous experience.

In short, I think the album is outstandingly good. It puts me in mind of other great song-driven bands such as Tears for Fears or World Party or the less well-known Nada Surf. I think the band have created a very interesting mix of get-up-and-dance jangly pop/rock songs and some more thoughtful/experimental stuff with indie-leanings as well. There is nothing that will necessarily shock or surprise you here - this is mainstream stuff and the Beach-Boys inspired "You Can Do Better Than Me" or the appearance of the Tabla (bring out the Tablas!) later in the album really make that point, but the album is a very good blend of optimism and melancholy that American guitar bands seem to do so well. There are some subtle gems here though... unlike some other reviewers I think the 8-minute "I will possess your heart" is a work of genius and is reminiscent of the soundscapes of the Doves or of indie-bands like New Order. If you listen to it in those terms then it works really well.

If you prefer your music to be relatively mainstream, but enjoy occasional reminders of deeper things, then I think this album would make an essential addition to your collection. There are subtle overtones of so many great things here that, for me at least, the album is easy to listen to and an exciting joy at the same time. I'm so glad I came across this band!
7 people found this helpful
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on 7 April 2015
Good stuff. Not yet heard though. I suspect this lot have taken their name from a song by Bonzo Dog Doodah Band.
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