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March 30, 2004

{     The Postal Service Such Great Heights & The District Sleeps Alone Tonight     }    

I don't know about you, but I don't really buy that many singles. They're not all that easy to find and it's hard to make a case for them financially — a full-length CD seems a much better buy. I think I'm starting to come around though, and it's all thanks to these two singles. The Postal Service, the long-distance partnership of Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) combines Gibbard's wistful and elegiac lyrics of lost and impossible love with Tamborello's dense electronic accompaniment. Despite the lyrics being Gibbard's characteristically bittersweet-to-bleak nearly everything from The Postal Service sounds impossibly cheerful thanks to very danceable beats, bleeps, and bloops. All of this was assembled over the distance of three states, mostly by mailed tapes. The full-length album, Give Up, released last February has probably spent more time in my CD player than any other album I've purchased since then. There have been two singles released from said album: Such Great Heights and The District Sleeps Alone Tonight. These aren't actually my most favorite tracks, but they're not my least favorite tracks either. Naturally each single includes the title track which is identical to the album version. Now, you didn't really buy either of these discs for those, did you? I mean, there's nothing wrong with that, but come on now. . . What you really want are the extras that elevate you from casual listener to fan. So what extras do you get? The first, and possibly best, is immediately obvious: the album art. Both singles are illustrated by our favorite husband and wife duo kozyndan. Honestly, they're better looking than the full-length. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight also includes two remixes, neither of which struck me as being all that exciting, and a cover of the Flaming Lips song Suddenly Everything Has Changed. Such Great Heights comes with a new track from the Postal Service There's Never Enough Time, and two covers from fellow Sub Pop artists The Shins and Iron & Wine. On one relatively cheap disc you get three of the best bands on Sub Pop today (and considering the increasingly quality of the label these days that is saying quite a bit). Buy them for the cover art, keep them for the excellent (relatively) cheerful pop music.

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By Benjamin in Music

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