Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Concert review: Postal Service’s anniversary show sweeps us into fuzzy dream
The reunited band embodied the fairy-like magic from the 2003 disc Give Up.
GRAND PRAIRIE It’s been 10 years since we first heard the ethereal, electrically stunning indie-pop group The Postal Service, and we’ve been playing the one and only full-length ever since. The West coast duo is made up of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and electronic mastermind Jimmy Tamborello, with accompanying backup vocals and electric guitar from Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis. The group, with additional touring member Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds), took listeners inside their fuzzy dream at Verizon Theatre on Monday night.
Focusing mainly on their debut album Give Up, the reunited group was a well-oiled machine, playing off of each other’s movements and energy like they had been on the road for years. Simple industrial pipes loomed over Tamborello’s booth, giving way to vibrant, colorful flashes of light that complimented the textured music. Dreamy track “We Will Become Silhouettes” showed off the band's bag of tricks, with Lewis and Gibbard rotating between the guitar, drums, pedals, and vocals. Tamborello was the wizard in an Oz-like booth, setting the pace and mood with competing beats and sharp yet fluid transitions.
Their cool, European style is otherworldly, sometimes as translucent as a pane of glass or as convoluted as a song from under water. Uptempo track “Clark Gable” felt like a high-speed car chase, where we couldn't discern if or when the pace would slow down. Cotton-candy track “Recycled Air” soared with Gibbard and Lewis’s vocals and Tamborello’s sexy cocktail of brooding bass lines and ticking beats. Whether strumming a guitar, scraping the drums, or manning the effects board, Lewis was just as much a player as Gibbard onstage, even though she was known more for her backup vocals on Give Up.
Fuzzy, washed out amps invaded one of two encore tracks, “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan,” a Dntel cover (Tamborello’s side project). It ushered in an explosive end to the celebratory 10-year anniversary show.
It's worth mentioning opening band Ra Ra Riot, who delivered an indie rock set built on steady falsettos and sweeping strings. Lead singer Wes Miles’s staircase notes and the persistent cello solos helped differentiate their popular style from the mass of independent, upbeat rockers of today.
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