By their seventh studio album, many bands are running out of creative steam and original ideas. But in the case of Death Cab for Cutie, nothing could be further from the truth. Codes and Keys is singular in the quartet’s catalog when it comes to sonic exploration and lyrical ambition. If anything, the band has never sounded more excited to experiment with textures, words, sounds and even the process of recording itself. Death Cab created Codes and Keys in studios up and down the West Coast, in short bursts over a period of seven months.
Despite the nomadic recording process—and the expanded sonic palette—it’s a testament to the band’s talent and chemistry that Codes and Keys is a cohesive statement, a collection of songs that hangs together as a well-sequenced album. Through all of their records, one theme remains constant—it is obvious that DCFC genuinely enjoy making music with each other and being in a band together. Theirs might not be a controversial rock & roll story—but it is one rooted in stable, supportive brotherhood.