Just before the band starts its tour in support of the album—and now without longtime guitarist and producer Chris Walla—the band could’ve been unsure of its footing. But they pretty much crushed it, starting with the album’s thumping opener “No Room in Frame.” “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” saw the band pick up the energy while still employing moody guitarwork and ghostly effects to good measure.
Ben Gibbard paused a moment to introduce new band members Dave Depper and Zac Rae (both on keys and guitars) before launching into the three-guitar “Little Wanderer.” It’s easy to forget what a great guitar band Death Cab can be, and honestly, the guitars threatened to overtake Gibbard’s star power on that song. But the song’s catchy chorus brings it all back, and Gibbard still stood center-stage on “Black Sun,” shaking his head through the song’s biting lyrics amid dusty organ and languid guitarwork.
Death Cab at times could be thought of as more of a solid and enjoyable band than a dynamic one, but they’ve seemingly sought to incorporate more variety to their introverted indie-pop on recent releases as their audience has grown, and live, their skill at juggling different sounds is even more pronounced. On the cowboyish “El Dorado,” Gibbard’s voice rang clearly over a sturdy gallop and wallowing guitars, while “Everything’s a Ceiling” is closer to an ’80s prom ballad and had the crowd clapping along to its stuttering beat and glowing synths.