Death Cab For Cutie, "Codes and Keys"

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Seven studio albums into its career, Death Cab for Cutie is getting weird-and doing it right. On the band's newest release, "Codes and Keys," listeners get a clear sense of where its members currently find themselves: in adulthood. And it's been a long haul to get there. Early reviews suggested the album wasn't guitar-based, a shift from 2008's rock-focused "Narrow Stairs." Some may be surprised that the group didn't trade its guitars for synthesizers this time around, but the subtle experimentation within the set provides a welcome new flavor. Opening song "Home Is a Fire" boasts a slight-yet-manic percussive beat reminiscent of Radiohead, while prominent piano and an orchestral section conjure dissonance on the title track. Elsewhere, the standout cut "Some Boys" manages to emit a darker, eerie vibe without any maudlin emo. Past Death Cab albums have found frontman Ben Gibbard penning youthful lyrics about the wariness and mystery of love, but now, the singer -- who recently married actress/musician Zooey Deschanel -- seems to finally be at peace with his strange, wonderful self.

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