What seems like something small and insignificant, sometimes can lead to big results that you would never expect.
This is exactly what happened to Death Cab for Cutie’s front man Ben Gibbard and electronic musician Jimmy Tamborello when they formed the Postal Service in 2001.
The two met when Gibbard came to Los Angles to visit Tamborello’s roommate.
At the time, Tamborello was working on a track that he thought was meant for Gibbard’s voice.
The track came out sounding better than expected, and they agreed to record more together; thus, The Postal Service was born.
Released in 2003, their first and only album “Give Up” is record label Sub Pop’s second best selling record of all times, selling more than 1.07 million copies.
The element that makes this record so great is how naturally electronic instruments mix with Ben’s soft, wispy voice and lyrics.
This organic synthesis of sounds can best be heard in “Sleeping In.”
The track starts off with soft, atmospheric production work that sounds like a drizzle on a spring morning.
Gibbard’s voice slides in effortlessly as he speaks words of pure philosophy.
“Where concerns about the world getting warmer, the people thought they were just being rewarded, for treating others as they’d like to be treated… Now we can swim any day in November,” over Tamborello’s fat, low end synth.
The opening track to the album, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” is my favorite song on the album. The low droning synth keeps a steady beat through the song as string sections flutter over it.
This, combined with the blended vocals of Gibbard and guest vocalist Jenny Kelly discussing a break up due to distance, creates something close to perfect.
“This Place is a Prison” is about being trapped in a bar and being unable to leave the routine of going there to wash away sorrow. The thing that makes this song crushing is not Gibbard’s lyrics, but the slow heavy synths that weight heavy on you.
It is sad to think that this album will be the only one the band will ever release, but at least they gave us this one.