The Postal Service – We Will Become Silhouettes EP

The Postal Service
We Will Become Silhouettes EP

Somehow, the Postal Service experience has eluded me to this point. That’s surprising, seeing as how I have most Death Cab for Cutie albums and enjoy them considerably, but the side project of Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard and Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello, for all its upbeat electro-pop goodness, just passed me by. But it stuck with others, making this the second best-selling band on Sub Pop (to Nirvana) and putting the band’s songs in television shows and mall clothing stores.

There’s no denying that the music is good, as evidenced by the fact that the band’s last full-length, Give Up came out in late 2003 and the buzz has barely died down. CD singles such as this one, featuring the Give Up track “We Will Become Silhouettes,” usually preceded or immediately follow an album’s release, but this one seems to be a reinforcement, a way to keep the band in the public eye. And why not? The song may not have been the first single, but it’s deservingly worthy of focus.

Here you have the catchy “We Will Become Silhouettes” from Give Up as well as a Matthew Dear remix of the song. The track is already driven by Tamborello’s electronic beat and smooth atmospherics, and Gibbard gives it a sweet and melancholy feel, but remixing such songs seems almost redundant. Dear, surprisingly, adds some acoustic guitar not heard in the original, and he seemingly strips the song down instead of layering on unneeded beats and electronics (an approach for which he should be applauded).

Also included here are the B-side “Be Still My Heart” and another remix, this time of “Nothing Better” as reworked by Styrofoam. The former is as good as any song on Give Up, I feel, with the kind of simple sweetness that Gibbard’s songwriting always imparts. And the chorus gets more upbeat and pristine, bringing the beats up a little more and adding female vocals to Gibbard’s for a truly memorable moment. Only Styrofoam’s remix seems unimportant here; it’s a good enough song, but the beats and studio knob-wrangling seem enough like the Postal Service’s own style that it could be. It does demonstrate how appropriate Matthew Dear’s approach to the title track was, however.

Perhaps my favorite part of this release is the artwork, an absolutely perfect creation by Kozyndan (www.kozyndan.com), a duo of artists who managed to create a wonderful sad winter scene for this release (even if it’s marred by Sub Pop sneaking its logo into the scene on the back cover). The artwork is a little something special for those completists who would seek this out anyway for the B-side and remixes.