An awesome record – GIVE UP [Vinyl]

By , October 26, 2010 9:18 am


Japanese edition of the electronica/indie rock supergroup’s 2003 debut album is scheduled to include bonus material. Details TBA. Sub Pop.Give Up, the debut release by this indie supergroup composed of Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmy Tamborello from Dntel, is a smart, quaint, and often transcendent little pop record. The roots of the album lie in “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan,” a woozy, gorgeous song recorded for the rad 2001 Dntel album Life Is Full of Possibilities. With

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5 Responses to “An awesome record – GIVE UP [Vinyl]”

  1. nycgirl says:

    Another record, reviewed by nycgirl – GIVE UP [Vinyl]
    I read a review for this album as “…so good that, in a just world, it would stop the war on its own.” Oh, how right that is. A distinctly modern melange of nĂ¼ wave, dance, alterna-pop, and synth, I’d best describe Postal Service as “Electro-indie”. If you’re a child of the 80s like me who grew up with New Order, OMD, Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, no need to read further–you’ll immediately love “Give Up”. In the midst of NYC’s current electroclash craze which is so overhyped at times (gosh, just lay down some minimal synths and have some bored models chant vocals), Postal Service is the outstanding contender as the smartest electro band of the year with an album that’s so emotional (melody-wise and lyric-wise), so beautiful, and so well-produced that it puts bands like Fischerspooner to shame. Jenny Lewis’ angelic, trance-like girlish voice enhances Gibbard’s boyish vocals. Catchy, simple-sounding but beautifully complex, every single track—and I mean every single one–is up to par. notable faves are:1- “District Sleeps Alone Tonight” – Angelic and soft, gradual fades of breakbeats, staccatos and instrumentals with enchanting melody and lyrics that speed up and slow down. Gorgeous.
    4- “Nothing Better” – Electro pop at its finest. This duet is so unbelievably catchy, melancholic yet bubbly, sweetened with a bouncy bass line and perfectly placed tweaks and twiddles.
    9- “Brand New Colony” – An emotional track intertwined with the twinkly theme from Super Mario Brothers. Brimming with nostalgia, you can hear the gold coins spinning and ka-chingin’ as you make Mario jump.
    10- “Natural Anthem” – A fierce, drum ‘n bass-influenced track in the style of Aphex and other IDM’ers. The junglist in me loves this. A great way to end this five-star album.But you’ll find your own favorites. Every track was just so satisfyingly good, I nearly cried at the end. You just don’t hear people making music like this nowadays.

  2. junkmedia says:

    Another record, reviewed by junkmedia – GIVE UP [Vinyl]
    Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard knew they were on to something good as soon as they finished collaborating on the track “(This is) the Dream of Evan and Chan.” That compelling combination of Tamborello’s melodic knob-twiddling and Gibbard’s literate vocals and forlorn delivery was the triumph of Dntel’s acclaimed 2001 release Life Is Full of Possibilities. Not long after that first collaboration, The Postal Service was born. The relative strangers began recording in December 2001, swapping tracks on CD-Rs through the mail. Listening to the act’s debut brings back the same sort of giddiness inspired in me by New Order’s Low Life when I first picked it up a decade-and-a-half ago. The Postal Service expertly channels that adolescent spirit with an awkward blend of dance beats and melodic songwriting. However, the duo has updated the sound for the millennial set, pleasantly mixing Depeche Mode beats and bass lines, Pet Shop Boys melodies and Warp Records-styled twinkling tones and clicks. Orchestral samples and pseudo horns add an unusual flavor to “Clark Gable.” Chunky, monophonic Casio-sounding keys tie the vocals to the beat in “Nothing Better.” Two of the album’s highlights appear right at the front end of the record. The first song, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” leads with brooding organ, before beats saunter in and steadily cruise through the first verse and chorus to a clean, ringing guitar riff. A second chorus pumps even harder and defies you to not sing along. This despite a characteristically bumming realization repeated by Gibbard: “I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving” (Christ, Benny, just stick a fork through my heart, why don’t you?). Track two, “Such Great Heights,” has already been released as a single. The catchy number apes Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks,” especially the beat and understated arrangement, albeit in an electro fashion. The remainder of Give Up is solid, though Gibbard’s lyrics are less potent by the middle of the record, and Tamborello burrows perhaps a little too deeply into some of the thinner sounds of the cold ’80s era that inspires him. “Sleeping In” stumbles a bit with Gibbard’s trite invocation of the JFK assassination, but the murmured chorus, “Don’t wake me, I plan on sleeping in,” that drapes over a quiet acoustic guitar phrase is strong enough to carry the entire song. Perhaps the only shortcoming of Give Up is that the adherence to pop shuts out some of the more interesting electronic elements explored on Life Is Full of Possibilities. “Natural Anthem” is probably the most adventurous Postal Service tune, utilizing a relatively heavy break-beat, a looping string sample and more aggressive production, but clearly the duo’s strengths are geared more toward hit-making than trailblazing. So, while the record isn’t necessarily an instant classic, the unabashed embrace of simple pop sensibilities, both old and new, make it a record that is hard to stop listening to. Jay Breitling Review

  3. psychomuse says:

    Another record, reviewed by psychomuse – GIVE UP [Vinyl]
    Existing somewhere between the musical and lyrical quirkiness of Komeda or Chumbawamba and the trip-hop funkadelic stylings of Massive Attack, you’ll find The Postal Service. Perhaps this cross-breeding equals an original beast; though it is, in the very least, a melodical and rhythmic experience that you will enjoy. It might not fatten up your top ten list, but I think you’ll find that The Postal Service delivers!

  4. E. A Solinas says:

    Another record, reviewed by E. A Solinas – GIVE UP [Vinyl]
    The Postal Service had an unusual start. No, not THAT postal service, but the unique band behind one of the best albums of 2003, the indie-electronic “Give Up.” Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello exchanged tapes through the mail, sculpting the sweet, melancholy trip-hop masterpiece “Give Up”.

    It starts off on strong footing with the melancholy, angelic-voiced “District Sleeps Alone Tonight” with its solemn organ opener. The second song is even stronger — the sparkling, upbeat “Such Great Heights,” an adoring love song from a guy to his on-the-road girlfriend. “They will see us waving/from such great heights/come down now!/they’ll say/but everything looks perfect from far away…”

    With such a great opener, the rest of the album is almost garuanteed to be lackluster. But Gibbard and Tamborello manage to keep the quality up with the delicate “Sleeping In,” ethereal “Nothing Better,” and the dreamily majestic “Recycled Air” with its backdrop of string-like synth. “Give Up” ends on a slightly darker note with the dark, grittier “This Place is a Prison” and the fast-paced but strange “Brand New Colony,” before finishing off with the magnificently cacophonous “Natural Anthem.”

    “Give Up” was originally recorded in a rather weird way, with Gibbard and Tamborello exchanging packages with recorded CDs inside. Not your typical way of making music, and some might have scoffed at this unorthodox method. But it pays off beautifully — the melodious poppy sound of Postal Service is absolutely intoxicating. It’s a perfect mix of beats, clicks, dreamy synth and sweet vocals. Gibbard’s clear voice is a little sad, and contemplative, and is backed up in some songs by Jen Wood and Jenny Lewis.

    The lyrics are beautiful, romantic and heartfelt (“I am finally seeing/why I was the one worth leaving…”), often evoking a slightly otherworldly feeling, not tied in with the world as we know it. It brings up dark cities, flying couples, gaudy apartments and places where things are sad and a little dreamy. The keyboard arrangements are shimmering, guitar riffs are steady and solid, and a cluster of other instruments (organ and horn) surface and vanish seamlessly.

    “Give Up” both satisfies a musical hunger and leaves you wanting more. Proving that innovation is NOT dead in the music biz, the Postal Service is a fantastic breath of fresh air. Dreamy, a little depressed, but uplifting and sweet.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Another record, reviewed by – GIVE UP [Vinyl]
    Now don’t get me wrong. Although I’m a big fan of DCFC and All-Time Quarterback. I will never find something to like about an album just because the singer in it has proven to be amazing before. In fact I tend to judge a singer harsher if I love his earlier work.However having said that, I have to say that this album is incredible. Ben Gibbard’s voice soars over electronic heights that are at once both mesmerizing, and totally different from his work with Death Cab For Cutie. Although his voice still has it’s characteristic fluctuating highs and lows, and the melody lines are (as always) incredible, the music is much more pop influenced on quite a few tracks, which he carries off perfectly. In fact Jimmy Tamborello (of Dntel and Figurine) creates perfect electronic nuances that Gibbards voice delicately touches as it glides above. Create a perfect combination of the two. I have to say that lyrically I don’t find postal service to be nearly as powerful, and image invoking as Ben’s work with Death Cab For Cutie, especially Photo Album. However as Ben says on the sub pop site.”Some of the songs are very much of a Death Cab mode, but people have been commenting, ‘Wow, the lyrics are really different,'” explains Gibbard. “When somebody is just handing you music and you’re supposed to sing over the top of it, it feels different than when you’re sitting at home with a guitar trying to write a song.””‘the district sleeps alone tonight,’ ‘brand new colony’ and ‘this place is a prison’ are pretty much the only songs that border on autobiographical,” he continues. “But everything else is just kind of daydreaming and coming up with ideas for songs that aren’t necessarily based in reality, and I think that was a lot more fun for me to do because I’d never really done that before. It didn’t feel right for all the songs to be break-up-type songs – they just felt more like the kind of songs that you would want to dance to and you wouldn’t want to have a lyric that’s super heavy, especially on ‘such great heights.’ I think ‘such great heights’ is the first time I’ve ever written a positive love song, where it’s a song about being in love and how it’s rad, rather than having your heart broken.”So although the fun, pop influence is definitely different from the beautiful darkness of much of Photo Album, and We Have The Facts. Songs like “This Place is a Prison” (One of my favorites on the album) are there as well, a beautiful mellow song of great intensity, with a much darker feel to it. All in all, this album pulls off with great finesse an unlikely, but at the same time totally fitting mix between indie and electronica. Definitely recommended for anyone into DCFC, Grandaddy, Stars, as well as anyone that appreciates good music, or wants to get into something new.Notable Tracks:This Place is a Prison
    Such Great Heights
    We Will Become Silhouettes

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