The Postal Service
I'm having a problem with Give Up. In fact, I may just follow that advice -- abandon my efforts at resisting this mumbled concoction of insinuating melodies and mostly electronic instrumentation, and simply embrace it for what it is. It's just that music like this is not typically my cup of tea. Talents from Death Cab For Cutie (Ben Gibbard) and DNTEL (Jimmy Tamborello) fuel this organization, which layers somewhat retro-sounding synth beds with airy vocals and some memorable hooks. The result is somewhere between the Pet Shop Boys' meticulous dance pop and the driving keyboard rock of acts like Zero Zero. "We Will Become Silhouettes" has a pulsating music bed that hypnotizes like the clickety-clack of train wheels, but the lyrics and chorus ultimately remind me of Hiroshima photographs showing the shadows of people etched into stone by the blast. Not sure if that's the intended effect, but it's haunting nonetheless. Without a doubt, Give Up is one of the most introspective albums I've heard in a while.
I find myself returning to Give Up over and over, drawn in by its cleanly layered approach. I'm keeping an eye on producer Chris Walla, who gets credit for this along with Hot Hot Heat's Knock Knock Knock EP.
Sub Pop: http://www.subpop.com