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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Postal Service
Give Up
Sub Pop Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Birthed out of what was originally a one-off collaboration between underground-cum-mainstream heart-throb Ben Gibbard of the celebrated Seattle quartet Death Cab For Cutie and solo programmer Jimmy Tamborello, The Postal Service has expanded upon the beats-meet-bedroom confessional concoction first dreamt up for Tamborello's solo project Dntel. Apparently the fruits of their initial labor, the stand-out track "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan", from Dntel's Life Is Full of Possibilities, were too sweet for the duo to pass up as a longer term proposition and honestly our ears are better off because of it.

While originally coined in a review of Spoon's spectacular Kill the Moonlight last year, Ryan Allen's "analog IDM" is a fitting analysis for Give Up, an even 10-song bubblegum romp through buoyant Pro-Tools beats and blips blanketed over with Gibbards ardent, soft vocals. To say that Tamborello's groundwork is mechanical is a bit of a misnomer as his mosaics of samples and synthetic percussion are more giddy and frolicking than the cold and calculated sounds we're used to the wires and knobs set producing. Even in a muggy song like "This Place Is a Prison" the mechanical notes are more fuzzy and soft than one would expect, and the inherent warm, dusty inflection in Gibbard's vocals are more than capable of thawing out any insensate percussion that comes along. Pour a creamy sauce of complementary female vocals courtesy of Jen Wood and Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis and you've got a hot meal fit for a king or queen of pop.

Overall Give Up is a great album that only stumbles occasionally, and those times almost exclusively come at the hands of Gibbard's lyrical delivery which seems to have gone unedited. A song such as "Sleeping In" is a prime example with its cringe-worthy lines like "last week I had the strangest dream that/ everything was exactly how it seemed/ where there was never any mystery of who shot John F. Kennedy". While the weak points of the album can almost exclusively be attributed to what seem like lyrics penned without a second thought, it is those same off-the-cuff moments of pure Gibbardism that make Give Up work on a level that Dntel does not- it has a much stronger human connection. The album opens with "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight", one of the lyrical highlights, and from there the album sinks like an anvil into the depths of the listener's heart. Follow that up with the severely addictive beats and piercing melodic hook of "Such Great Heights" and it begins to look as if Gibbard and Tamborello are running up the score, creating an insurmountable lead. "I am thinking it's a sign/ That the freckles in our eyes are mirror images/ And when we kiss they're perfectly aligned," sings Gibbard in his beautiful, touching melody, my consciousness melting between my ears, The Postal Service soaring to great heights and planting their flag at the peak of my stereo, Agency Gothic font flapping in the wind strong and sturdy.

Reviewed by Monique LeBreau


See other reviews by Monique LeBreau

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