Death Cab For Cutie: Getting Older, Staying Honest Members Ben Gibbard and Chris Walla discuss abandoning two of their band's trademarks, a guitar-driven sound and melancholy lyrics, on the new Codes and Keys.
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Death Cab For Cutie: Getting Older, Staying Honest

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Death Cab For Cutie: Getting Older, Staying Honest

Death Cab For Cutie: Getting Older, Staying Honest

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

But this time around, you may notice something different...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU ARE A TOURIST")

LOUISE KELLY: (Singing) Fire, grows, high, high, high...

LOUISE KELLY: ...a departure from their trademark melancholy sound.

LOUISE KELLY: We're 13 or 14 years into this, and it just sort of seemed like a good time to try to not make a really guitar-focused record.

LOUISE KELLY: That's Chris Walla. He plays guitar and keyboards for Death Cab for Cutie. He also produces the band's records. This song we're hearing now is "You Are a Tourist" from their new album, "Codes and Keys." It takes a turn toward the more upbeat.

LOUISE KELLY: You know, I would be remiss if I had tried to continue writing in a solely melancholic voice, given the fact that now I'm a married man.

LOUISE KELLY: Here's the song "Monday Morning."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MONDAY MORNING")

LOUISE KELLY: (Singing) She may be young but she only likes old things. And modern music, it ain't to her taste. She loves the natural light...

LOUISE KELLY: The first verse is just a portrait. And I think, obviously, when I speak in first person and I use she or her, people are going to assume that I'm speaking about Zooey. And in this case, I am. But I would hope that as people hear this record, they can put themselves in these songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "UNDERNEATH THE SYCAMORE")

LOUISE KELLY: (Singing) Lying in a field of glass, underneath the overpass...

LOUISE KELLY: Gibbard says back when Death Cab was getting started, he dreamed small. His heroes were the bands selling just a few thousand records, and making just enough money to get by.

LOUISE KELLY: What we aspired to in 1998, we have wildly surpassed. And I know we all feel incredibly grateful this band is able to have the life that it's had.

LOUISE KELLY: Next week, the Grammy-nominated band will release their seventh studio album, "Codes and Keys," and you can hear it now at NPRMusic.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "UNDERNEATH THE SYCAMORE ")

LOUISE KELLY: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Mary Louise Kelly.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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