Coming off their work on Dntel's beautiful This Is the Dream of Evan and Chan, Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard team up again for their full-length debut as Postal Service, Give Up. Instead of covering that EP's territory again, with this album the duo crafts a poppier, new wave-inflected sound that recalls Tamborello's work with Figurine more than Dntel's lovely subtlety. However, Ben Gibbard's famously bittersweet vocals and sharp, sensitive lyrics imbue Give Up with more emotional heft than you might expect from a synth pop album, especially one by a side project from musicians as busy as Tamborello and Gibbard are.
After three weeks, I'm still looking for a good reason to tone down the almost hyperbolically glowing review I've been intending to write about the Postal Service's debut. I should be able to find fault somewhere, right? I mean, I suppose Give Up isn't a surprise. It sounds pretty much what you'd expect a snail-mail correspondence between a rock songwriter and an electronic producer would sound like.