After four Barsuk albums of often stately, melodic indie pop, Death Cab for Cutie become the first of the "O.C."-boosted indie bands to make the leap to the majors.
On Plans, the band's fifth album, Death Cab made the jump from the friendly confines of Barsuk Records to the storied halls of Atlantic, a move that makes a lot of sense. The band is ready for the large, diverse audience a major can provide, and they make the transition seamlessly, in large part due to the underrated production of guitarist Chris Walla, who has a way of making even the weirder flourishes (and the band tries a few to mixed success here) feel totally natural.
Despite Walla's consistently cozy production, Ben Gibbard's lyrics continue to move from critiques of middle-class life to tackling Big Themes, here the relationship between death and love. On "What Sarah Said" he claims, "Love is watching someone die." On "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" it's the title sentiment, and on "Soul Meets Body" he says, "If the silence takes you, then I hope it takes me too."