A collection of outtakes, demos and rarities, this eighteen-song disc proves that Seattle indie-rock band Death Cab for Cutie was onto something before it even got started. Like Seam or Quasi, Death Cab make icily pretty music that conveys emotion through its lack of emotion -- there's vague gloominess in Ben Gibbard's breathy, faraway voice and the creepy analog synthesizers that accompany it. The songs here that document the genesis of the sound -- "Line of Best Fit," "Champagne From a Paper Cup" -- ended up on the band's 1998 debut, which is more worth having than this collection. The Replacements-style "New Candles" and DCFC's cover of the Smiths' "This Charming Man" are worth a listen, but most of Chords will appeal only to Death Cab for Cutie devotees.
(RS 909 – November 14, 2002)
(Posted: Oct 22, 2002)