Death Cab for Cutie have a way with EPs. For most groups, even long-standing ones, EPs (other than debuts) are usually just glorified singles, or a dumping ground for stuff that didn’t make the last full-length. But Death Cab have a history of putting out great original EPs between great original LPs, like 2005’s The John Byrd EP, 2009’s The Open Door EP (QRO review), and now The Blue EP.
Blue has almost all of what one likes about Death Cab, distilled. There’s the echo-into-big opener “To the Ground”, and wistful look backs “Kids in ‘99” (definitely talking about frontman Benjamin Gibbard’s own youth, but also much of the band’s audience) and “Before the Bombs”. The two “blue” songs use the versatile color differently (just look at all Dylan did with it), the sad & intimate “Man In Blue”, but also the slow, shining regret of “Blue Bloods”.
The Blue EP isn’t some giant leap (indeed the open to “Man In Blue” sounds a whole lot like Death Cab’s classic “Title and Registration”), but an EP doesn’t need to be. Just yet more great stuff from Death Cab for Cutie.