You can spend all the time and money in the world trying to craft the perfect pop-music scenario, but sometimes the stars have to align all by themselves. Even though early on the members of The Postal Service jokingly referred to Such Great Heights as “the hit” on their debut album, Give Up, there’s no way anyone could have predicted the eventual impact made by a mail-order album designed in a pair of West Coast bedrooms.
It’s been 10 years since the little project that could from Seattelite Ben Gibbard (aka Death Cab For Cutie’s frontman) and Angeleno Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, Figurine) emerged from seemingly nowhere and began to burrow into the ears of anyone who came into contact with the band’s infectious electro-pop. To celebrate, Sub Pop is reissuing The Postal Service’s sole album, and including in the multi-disc set 15 bonus tracks, including two brand new songs, “A Tattered Line of String” and “Turn Around.” On top of that, the band is back together: The Postal Service will hit the road for a long-overdue victory lap, giving most fans their first (and last—seriously, don’t ask) chance to see the group in person.
Of course, the band’s music was more than just electro-pop, and the force with which Jimmy and Ben captured the indie-rock zeitgeist of the early aughts made them more of a phenomenon than just a regular old band. That such artists as Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Streetlight Manifesto, and Confide have covered “Such Great Heights” is a testament to both the song’s magical spark and its melodic inclusivity. The band’s sound is such a touchstone that “Postal Service-esque” has become a generally accepted musical adjective. And it goes way beyond Owl City.
While it was impossible to anticipate how massive Give Up would become, it was obvious in 2003 that these guys had made something special. Ten years on it’s amazing to know that so many people have come to agree.