To start off, frankly, this is probably the best thing Ben Gibbard has ever done. Death Cab for Cutie’s a pretty good band, but I think that the Postal Service blows them clear out of the water. Ben Gibbard’s sensitive and sweet voice sounds much more natural and convincing alongside the ambient electronic music created by Jimmy Tambarello (of Dntel fame) than conventional indie pop/rock. The chemistry that these two share makes Give Up one of the best and most beautiful albums of 2003.
The album’s sound is the perfect mix of EDM and indie pop songwriting. The music and beats are subtle and soothing, and Ben Gibbard’s emotive, almost understated vocals compliment the music perfectly. This is undoubtedly a headphones album, and a great headphones album at that.
Give Up starts off incredibly strong, with its best song, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” leading the way. Strong melodies, strong lyrics, relaxing atmosphere, and ethereal backing vocals make this track infinitely memorable. Following it are the album’s other stronger tracks, especially “Such Great Heights,” “Clark Gable,” and my second favorite on Give Up, “This Place is a Prison.”
This is music that makes me smile. Beautifully crafted electro-pop with heartfelt lyrics. Ben’s vocal stylings that uncannily resemble Ben Folds’ fill in the bleeps and clicks with his sincere delivery. The ladies singing background, Jen Wood and Jenny Lewis, almost steal the show. The simply sweet and charming harmony their voices offer are the perfect complement to Mr. Gibbard’s.