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Death Cab for Cutie, Directions

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Death Cab for Cutie, Directions
(Atlantic/Barsuk)
Back in the day of MTV’s infancy, artists often made videos for every single song on their albums. It was a waste---only the videos for singles ever saw the light of day. 50 Cent did it recently with The Massacre, which makes a bit more sense in this era of DVD-repackaging frenzy. Death Cab for Cutie has done something slightly different---this “visual companion” to the band’s 2005 release Plans had one rule: the band would not appear in any of the videos. And so Directions is a series of short films. Whether by coincidence or design, they’re grouped thematically. Lightborne’s “Summer Skin” reimagines the playground as a soul-sucking office, while Autumn de Wilde’s joyous clip for “Different Names for the Same Thing” casts a grade-school band as Death Cab. An animated chunk contains Monkmus’ hand-drawn “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” while the best graphics come from Ace Norton’s “Someday You Will Be Loved,” featuring a much-maligned heart. Laurent Briet’s arty narrative about a damaged French couple is at the centre of Plans’s best song, “What Sarah Said.” There’s no denying that a connection to the music is necessary for maximum enjoyment of Directions, but the quality of the videos and numerous extras make it a worthy stand-alone.
Tara Thorne

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