Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie’s fifth release Plans is a career-defining album that may alienate, anger and even unite fans for and against it. People who love the band do so with a scary passion akin to a disturbing religious zealotry. Plans is Death Cab’s “grown-up” album, a sweet musical dispatch from the dizzying fog of passing seasons, accelerated years and all that falls under the punishing wheels of time. It’s that rare, complete album, with not one misstep. Chief songwriter Ben Gibbard and the rest of the band have never sounded more urgent and clear. Highlights are many, with the haunting militaristic drum march and surging bass of “Summer Skin,” the lofty, chiming “Your Heart is an Empty Room,” and the unforgettable album closer “Stable Song”—a dazzling fast track to goose bump city. It’s a daunting task to single out one moment as better than the last, when Plans bleeds the sort of insight and poetic vision servicing the ideal that rock and roll music may move the stoniest heart, and a bitter world seemingly forgetful of the small, necessary and beautiful moments that Death Cab revels in.