Melancholic minstrels, alternative darlings, champions of indie rock, and…techno remixers?
Yes, you heard right. Death Cab for Cutie is releasing a remix EP of its 2011 album, “Codes and Keys.” A little unexpected, coming from the band that has successfully swooned Zooey Deschanel look-alikes and inspired artsy alt rockers since the new millennium.
Cleverly titled “Keys and Codes,” the album is set to release on November 21, and is made up of the album’s 11 original songs, but each remixed by a different artist. The band has been releasing one song a week from the EP on its website since October 11.
The EP marks a drastic departure from the lo-fi, melodic and emotional style the band is known for, transporting lead singer Ben Gibbard from the “boy-next-door,” as Rolling Stone described him, to head-bobbing club kid.
“Overall, I think the EP is an attempt for the band to stay relevant in an age where dubstep remixes rule the college music arena,” Nick Zanetos, sophomore political science and environmental sustainability major at Miami University, said. “The remixes reach a broader audience than the originals do, because of the current interest in techno/electronic music.”
He added that the 2 Bears remix of “You Are a Tourist,” one of the standout singles from the original album, is “a classic example of over-remixing a song.”
“The guitar rhythm and overall song beat was lacking in the middle of the remix, kind of causing me to forget that I was even listening to a remix and not an original 2 Bears song,” Zanetos said.
Erin Starke, junior public relations major at Hofstra University, agreed. “Hearing that they're remixing songs so soon after the release it makes me feel like they are trying to improve the songs,” she said.
Starke added that she thought the album has not been publicized well, saying that “You Are a Tourist” was one of the only songs she had heard of.
Although remixes and electronic music are certainly gaining popularity, the band stuck with lesser-known artists to revamp their tracks. The album features remixes by alternative bands with electronic influences like Cut Copy, Ulrich Schnauss and Yeasayer.
While the style of “Keys and Codes” may not be the same as the swooning melodies Death Cab for Cutie’s fans fell in love with, it’s something they can at least have fun with. If Death Cab lovers want to take a break from their acoustic guitars, “Keys and Codes” lets them flirtily dance with other indie bands for a night.
While Zanetos said some songs seemed remixed just to gain a wider audience, he thought the new versions worked well for others.
“Ulrich Schnauss’ remix of ‘Home is a Fire’ starts out with a wave of intertwined beats that brilliantly results in the vibe of Death Cab's original version of the song. While not straying too far from identity of the original tune, the remix still provides a more upbeat and new-wave feel,” he said.