Once upon a time, in a world before iPhones, Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard and producer Jimmy Tamborello decided to work together in a decidedly old-fashioned way: by mailing tapes back and forth. The resulting collaboration, an electro-pop duo dubbed the Postal Service, produced Give Up, one of the more memorable records of the past decade.
When it was confirmed this week that the Postal Service will issue a 10th-anniversary edition of the album, and play the Coachella music festival in April, that sound you heard was thousands of Tumblr templates springing open, getting ready to capture all those emotions.
The duo’s unique appeal lay in combining the earnest, twee lyrics of guitar-based indie music with the catchy blips of the electro-pop scene, which, at that point, still favoured abstract vocal samples, Kraftwerk-ian vocoders, or often no singing at all.
Give Up wasn’t spectacular, at least compared with other critically acclaimed albums of 2003 – it was, after all, the year of the White Stripes’s Elephant and OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below – but lines like, “I’m thinking it’is a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they’re perfectly aligned” (from Such Great Heights, the band’s biggest hit) clearly hit a nerve with rabid fans, who blew up Twitter this week with excitement over the band’s impending reunion.