Death Cab for Cutie is a band known for both its mellow, down to earth beats and for it's incredible, easy to relate to lyrics. They are also known to rock out on occasion, on such past tracks as "Company Calls" from the "We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes" LP. Here, with "You Can Play These Strings With Chords," the band offers its fans a rare look into its early days, putting their original 8 track demo tape onto a CD. Now, while many may consider this as merely filler until their next album is released in 2003, it is much more than that. While by no means a masterpiece, it is a wonderful window into the band's beginnings. They excel the most with songs not recorded on their first album, as I am a big fan of the re-recording of "Pictures in an Exhibition," while this version seems to be missing something. On "Hindsight," "Two Cars," and "That's Incentive" however, we see that not all demos are bad things, as if not for this album these excellent tracks may very well have been lost to the fans of this wonderful band.
The B-Sides are another great added bonus. The only B-side Songs I had heard before this CD were "Wait," "Song for Kelly Huckaby(an extra on my Facts import)," and "Army Corps For Architects." By far, the best song here is "Army Corps," churning out sweet melodies and lyrics which are noticeably absent form most other music these days. This album helps me see how much better the "underground" music is as compared to "mainstream" as not once have Death Cab been on radio in NYC, yet they deserve all that and more. So, when you feel ready to buy this CD, buy "Facts" or "Something About Airplanes" first. It will get you ready for this, and what is to come from the band known only as Death Cab For Cutie.