This album is a reisuue, consisting of Death Cab for Cutie's first eight-track cassette EP of demos, plus a selection of oddments and rarities.
It offers different recordings of "President of What?", "Champagne From a Paper Cup", "Pictures In An Exhibition", "Amputations", and "Line of Best Fit" from those on Something About Airplanes
. In addition, there are three songs that weren't on the debut proper: "Hindsight", "That's Incentive", and "Two Cars".
The collection provides a great insight into the band's original lineup, with the odds and ends being the main attraction, as they highlight the band's earliest recordings, dating back to 'fan club only' and split single releases, plus there's a couple of covers of songs by The Secret Stars and The Smiths (the Smiths cover in particular being rather good, despite some flubbed lyrics).
Most of the material is of the 'fun for the hell of it' kind (and the album's liner notes confirm that for the most part). So ... there's an attempt at being New Order with "Tomorrow"; the band's interpretation of hip hop on "Flustered / Hey Tomcat!"; and the brilliant original version of "Song for Kelly Huckaby", along with a handful of some of the band's best ballads, including "Army Corps of Architects", which Ben says is 'by far' his favorite recording by the band, and with good reason - it's fantastic.
Like any collection of this kind, You Can Play These Songs With Chords
is a mixed bag, but it's an intriguing one nevertheless.Rated:
by Reviewer: Austin
(blogging at Austin's Page