Death Cab For Cutie announce ‘The Photo Album’ 20th anniversary reissue, share “Coney Island” demo
Death Cab For Cutie's classic 2001 album The Photo Album just turned 20 over the weekend, and in honor of the anniversary, the band have announced a deluxe reissue. It includes the original album, the 2002 Stability EP (which has a Bjork cover), rarities, alternate takes, and other previously unreleased recordings from the era (including a Stone Roses cover), and demos from the Photo Album and Stability sessions. It comes out digitally on October 29 via Barsuk, and vinyl is due in spring 2022 (pre-order).
The first track to be released is the demo of "Coney Island," which is a noticeably different version than the one that made it onto the album. Ben Gibbard calls this version "a Neil Young-stomp kind of thing" and adds, "It’s very indicative of the process we were employing at that point, which was to deconstruct something and build it completely back up. In that particular case, it made the song a lot more interesting and gave it a nice flavor and a loneliness that sits well on the album."
Former guitarist and producer Chris Walla said, "The demos are especially satisfying to me — they were recorded live to the 8-track over the course of a few days just a week before we started the album proper, and they are a beautiful, buzzing, remarkably confident set of test Polaroids for what the album would become."
Death Cab have expressed mixed feelings on this album over the years, but now Ben says these songs are among "the best I’ve ever written, and among the best we’ve ever put out," and Chris says that "revisiting our actual work for this reissue has decidedly unmixed those feelings. I think The Photo Album is pretty excellent. The demos are especially satisfying to me – they were recorded live to the 8-track over the course of a few days just a week before we started the album proper, and they are a beautiful, buzzing, remarkably confident set of test Polaroids for what the album would become."
Ben adds, "What that period gave us was the opportunity to push it all the way to the edge, personally and creatively, and go, OK, wait a second, this is important to us. We are friends. This is worth saving. This is worth continuing to do. That really opened up the creative playfield that would become our next album, Transatlanticism. We finally recognized that we love doing this — we just needed a break once in a while."
Listen to the "Coney Island" demo below...
[The Photo Album]
01. Steadier Footing
02. A Movie Script Ending
03. We Laugh Indoors
04. Information Travels Faster
05. Why You’d Want To Live Here
06. Blacking Out The Friction
07. I Was A Kaleidoscope
08. Styrofoam Plates
09. Coney Island
10. Debate Exposes Doubt
[The Stability EP]
11. 20th Century Towers
12. All Is Full Of Love
[Rarities & Unreleased Recordings]
14. Gridlock Caravans
15. Information Travels Faster (Alternate Lyric Demo)
16. I Wanna Be Adored (Live)
17. I Was A Kaleidoscope (Live)
18. We Laugh Indoors (Dub)
19. Debate Exposes Doubt (Acoustic)
20. A Movie Script Ending (Acoustic)
21. I Was A Kaleidoscope (Acoustic, Live on KEXP)
22. Corny Island (Studio Outtake)
23. We Laugh Indoors (UK Single Mix)
24. Steadier Footing (Acoustic Studio Outtake)
25. A Movie Script Ending (Band Demo)
26. We Laugh Indoors (Band Demo)
27. Information Travels Faster (Band Demo)
28. Why You’d Want To Live Here (Band Demo)
29. Blacking Out The Friction (Band Demo)
30. I Was A Kaleidoscope (Band Demo)
31. Styrofoam Plates (Band Demo)
32. Coney Island (Band Demo)
33. Debate Exposes Doubt (Band Demo)
34. 20th Century Towers (Band Demo)
35. Stable Song (Band Demo)