Death Cab for Cutie's music is a lot of things to a lot of people: a comfort blanket for depressed undergrads, a mixtape staple for the spiked-belt-and-spectacles set, a constant source of witty source material for Seth Cohen from "The O.C." ... the list goes on. But there's one group that the band hasn't really reached out to as of yet: the whimsical-yet-sensitive botanists of the world.
That's all about to change thanks to the video for "Soul Meets Body," the first single off Death Cab's upcoming major-label debut, Plans, (see "Death Cab For Cutie Living Up To The 'Death' Part On Next LP"). The clip — directed by newcomer Jon Watts — is set to be filmed on Wednesday in Los Angeles, and features Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard wandering through a magical forest on his way to meet with his band, as trees and plants morph into music notes.
"We're out in the woods, and I'm going to a cabin to see the rest of the guys and play a little bit of music, and along the way there are these plants that are growing up out of the ground and turning into abstract musical notes that float off," Gibbard said. "It sounds a bit strange coming out of my mouth, but the treatment's really strong, and it should be good."
Here's hoping it is. But why did Death Cab — a band that sold over 320,000 copies of its last album, Transatlanticism, and gets shout-outs from pop-culture touchstones including "The O.C." and Entertainment Weekly — decide to go with a relative unknown to helm the video for "Soul"?
Well, it turns out that Watts' treatment was exactly what Gibbard was looking for: It's hard to understand. That's the same methodology Gibbard used when he chose another newcomer, Patrick Daughters, to direct Death Cab's "Title and Registration" video (see "Death Cab For Cutie Singer A Real Cutup In Latest Video").
"It's hard to pick videos, because when I write lyrics I try to make them as descriptive as possible, and I find it hard to find a treatment that's not just mimicking what's happening in the song," Gibbard laughed. "Those are my least favorite kind of videos, like 'Jimmy's walkin' down the stairs,' and then in the video he walks down the stairs.
"Plus this one was a little weird, just like the video we did with Patrick Daughters was," he continued. "They're the kind of videos that take a very literal kind of song and do something new and different with it."
Death Cab's Plans is due in stores on August 30, and in early October, they'll launch a full-scale North American tour with Canadian synth-rockers Stars and melodic Australian pop-punks Youth Group serving as openers on different legs. Dates and cities are expected to be announced shortly.