Underneath The Sycamore
Label: Atlantic Records
Married life never sounded so good. In the years since 2008's Narrow Stairs, both Ben Gibbard and bassist Nick Harmer got hitched, and drummer Jason McGerr became a father; thus, seventh album Codes and Keys very much indulges in honeymoon bliss. "No perfect truths, just our love," Gibbard gushes. Throughout, the arrangements are meaty -- propulsive rhythms guiding rich textures of ringing guitars, strings, piano and even glitchy synths -- but they're often encased in an ambient cloud of contentment. "You Are a Tourist," "Unobstructed Views" and "St. Peter's Cathedral" especially glisten.