ARTIST: Death Cab for Cutie
TITLE: You Can Play These Songs with Chords
YEAR RELEASED: 1997
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Prove My Hypotheses
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe not.
LINEUP: Ben Gibbard. Nathan Good, Nick Harmer and Christopher Walla played on some of the extra tracks.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Technically a demo, this was Gibbard’s first foray and it wound up successful as a real Death Cab for Cutie formed from this tape.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ben Gibbard’s a sensitive soul, and that shows on these tracks. What these demos also display is a sense of rock and some surprising aggression on the drums. Of course, Gibbard did most everything himself, so he may not have had the most subtlety here.
The sonic quality isn’t the best, but the sense of melody and his voice are here, and you can tell why this ‘side’ project from him soon became his full-time gig.
Released as a cassette, later expanded on CD, this is the birth of a long-standing project, and for that, it’s intriguing. The fact that it’s decent is bonus.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Gibbard was in the band Pinwheel, which supposedly released an album in 1996, but I can’t find it anywhere in my sources.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes – the original cassette had eight tracks. Ten more were added when this was released on CD a few years later.
GRADE: B: For a demo, it’s pretty darn good.