The success of Death Cab For Cutie's TRANSATLANTICISM, and Death Cab main man Ben Gibbard's debut album with the Postal Service, combined to make PLANS one of the most heavily anticipated indie-rock records in many moons. Anyone who thought the band's move to a major label would rob DCFC's unique brand of literate, melancholy music of its legendary intensity needn't have worried--PLANS is one of the group's most accomplished and emotionally resonant efforts.
Sonically, the disc has a Beatlesque anything-goes attitude and attention to arrangement details. "Summer Skin" is driven by a military-style snare pattern and elliptical bass line but sprinkled with atmospheric sound effects. The throbbing dance-rock beat of "Different Names" is offset by delicate xylophone and percolating synthesizer. The disc's highlight, however, may be "Someday You Will Be Loved," which is the kind of simple, irony-free love ballad that stands as a great song with or without production tricks. All the while, Gibbard's artful, introspective lyrics consistently excite the ear with quirky turns of phrase and descriptive imagery. Both a step forward and a refining of past glories, PLANS is a record filled with quietly powerful moments.
Spin (p.63) - Ranked #14 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "Death Cab's melodic, mellow guitar rock is earthy enough to ensure there's no danger of reality floating away."
Entertainment Weekly (No. 838, p.140) - "...[T]here's a lot to love here...." - Grade: B plus