The Postal Service Biography

Review The Artist (10)

Source: - Marc Hawthorne, November 2002
The Postal Service-photo
Despite many industry insiders' prediction that Death Cab For Cutie's incendiary "Why You'd Want to Live Here" would create a Pacific Northwest vs. Southern California indie-rock rivalry reminiscent of hip-hop's East Coast/West Coast conflict, no blood was shed over such lines as "Is this the City of Angels or demons?" In fact, you might say most people in Los Angeles couldn't care less that Seattleite Ben Gibbard was giving their city a good old-fashioned tongue-lashing.

Silverlake denizen and Dntel mastermind Jimmy Tamborello certainly wasn't bothered - instead of hiring someone to lay Gibbard down for the dirt nap, he asked DCFC's leader to lay down vocals on a track for his upcoming album. A week later the electronipop masterpiece "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" (included on Dntel's 2001 full-length Life Is Full of Possibilities) was completed and the seeds for The Postal Service were planted.

"It seemed kind of effortless," says Tamborello, who had never met Gibbard before the recording of "Evan and Chan." "He came down and sang it once and we were just really happy with it."

"We did the song in an hour one afternoon," explains Gibbard, who was in L.A. visiting Tamborello's roommate, The Jealous Sound's Pedro Benito. "It was such an easy, fun way to work. The idea was spawned: Maybe we could do an EP of this kind of stuff. Then [Sub Pop A&R rep] Tony Kiewel brought '(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan' to the label and said, 'They're going to do a record of this kind of stuff - do you guys want to do it?' We just went from there."

In December 2001, Gibbard started receiving CD-Rs from Tamborello filled with beatsy electronic music, which he manipulated in his computer before writing melodies and lyrics and recording vocals. He also added some guitar, drums and keyboards - much of which was recorded by Death Cab guitarist Chris Walla at his Hall of Justice studio - and then sent the demo back to L.A. Gibbard had to run his changes past Tamborello, but he more or less had the freedom to alter the songs to his liking.

"It was really great to get a little package every month or two - 'Two new songs!'" says Gibbard. "Sometimes I'd say, 'I want to move that part and this part,' and it was really fun to have such autonomy in the writing; I could pretty much do whatever I wanted."

Though Tamborello (also known for his work in Strictly Ballroom and Figurine) is no stranger to collaboration - everyone from Beachwood Sparks' Chris Gunst to That Dog's Rachel Haden to Slint/The For Carnation's Brian McMahan appeared on Life Is Full of Possibilities - this was the first time he had attempted a project with a relative stranger.

"It was like having to work on the album and make friends at the same time," admits Tamborello. "In the beginning I was probably a little nervous about not wanting to say I didn't like something 'cause I didn't know him. But in the end it didn't end up ever being an issue. It seemed like I was always excited with what he did."

Ten months, two trips to L.A. (to record vocals and finish mixing) and one big postage invoice later, Give Up was completed. And just like that, Gibbard & Tamborello find themselves standing alongside such giants as Morrissey & Marr, Lennon & McCartney and Anderson & Butler.

All ten tracks are exercises in smooth beauty, with Gibbard's inviting voice perfectly complementing Tamborello's unique and charming programming and guest vocals from Jen Wood and Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis adding a gentle layer of sweetness to many of the songs. Though it's tempting to call it an "'80s-sounding" record because of its keyboard-driven pop sensibilities, there's nothing retro about Give Up, save for a few sounds here and there and "nothing better," a duet with Wood inspired by The Human League's "Don't You Want Me." On the other hand, fans of Death Cab will hear faint echoes of Gibbard's main band in The Postal Service, but overall it's a completely different experience.

"Some of the songs are very much of a Death Cab mode, but people have been commenting, 'Wow, the lyrics are really different,'" explains Gibbard. "When somebody is just handing you music and you're supposed to sing over the top of it, it feels different than when you're sitting at home with a guitar trying to write a song."

"'the district sleeps alone tonight,' 'brand new colony' and 'this place is a prison' are pretty much the only songs that border on autobiographical," he continues. "But everything else is just kind of daydreaming and coming up with ideas for songs that aren't necessarily based in reality, and I think that was a lot more fun for me to do because I'd never really done that before. It didn't feel right for all the songs to be break-up-type songs - they just felt more like the kind of songs that you would want to dance to and you wouldn't want to have a lyric that's super heavy, especially on 'such great heights.' I think 'such great heights' is the first time I've ever written a positive love song, where it's a song about being in love and how it's rad, rather than having your heart broken."

Though Gibbard is still committed to Death Cab and Tamborello is already hard at work on another Dntel album, the duo has penciled in a late-spring tour and plans to record again in the future.

"I told Jimmy, 'Whenever you start sending me stuff is when we'll start working on the next Postal Service record,'" says Gibbard. "I don't see any reason why it couldn't continue to be a project as long as Jimmy wants to do it."

"It seems so easy to do them and it doesn't take any time," says Tamborello. "And at this point I think we could do it where he just records everything up there and we could do even more through the mail."


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I LOVE THE POSTAL SERVICE ! | Reviewer: Hafiz | 3/13/09

i love the postal sevice since i recognized all about their sound .. i love all sounds which made by them . so jimmy tamborello , please tell me how to made ur beats in the postal service ? and ben gibbard , how to gave lyrics and melody so great to them all ? IT'S AMAZING !!



always been a fan | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/11/08

I first heard The Postal Service in 2004, before joining the Army, and ever since then I've been a huge fan. I basically love all the songs and listen to them constantly. Not only is the music great but the lyrics are beautifully written. I'm currently deployed in Iraq and I love to listen to The Postal Service to help calm me down and sleep a little better.



Best Band Ever | Reviewer: Rachel | 5/23/07

I love Death Cab and Postal Serviec, you guys are awesome, i will always love you! :)



POSTAL SERVICE!!! | Reviewer: frida | 9/11/06

The Postal Service is perfect. I simply LOVE "Such Great Heights". I heard it for the first time last summer, and it's been my favourite song ever since. I listen to it almost every day and I've introduced it to most of my friends, who also love the song and the band. And btw, GO Death Cab!!!



The Postal Service | Reviewer: Kylieeee | 1/22/06

Ben Gibbard is in my favorite band, "Deathcab for cutie", so I heard about The Postal Service from researching about deathcab and stuff. Ben Gibbard is brilliant, all the songs hes produced have all been awesome.
Brand New Colony is probably my favorite of TPS, and also Nothing Better. If you like the Postal Service, definitly check out deathcab for cutie too.



Against All Odds | Reviewer: Justine | 9/25/05

I have only heard Against All Odds but that is oficially my 2nd favourite song at the moment. I am a VERY BIG RAP FAN!!! I live for rap, and have lived for rap since I was 7. But The Postal Service is amazing! I am so glad my friend showed me this song! and the movie that goes with it - Wicker Park, that is such an awesome film!!! I love it!!!!!!!



Postal Service | Reviewer: Shaimaa | 2/26/05

I first heard the Postal Service on the radio and I was instantly hooked. Its upbeat sound and amazing lyrics just get you singing their songs all day long. I love how their songs just make you want to dance, no matter what song you're playing. The Postal Service is definitely my favorite band.



<3<3<3<3<3 | Reviewer: Ali | 2/15/05

i love this band. they are soo unique its incredible. they are not like any other band and you have to listen to them a couple times before u get used to their sound but after that its liek ear candy. im in love:P



Postal Service | Reviewer: @aol.com (remove the )>Krathen | 10/4/04

The Postal Service was introduced to me by a friend and fellow audiophile, the unique thing about The Postal Service is even though the songs lyrics are depressing the music is uplifting. so while you want to cry with sorrow you want to dance to it too.



My happy music | Reviewer: Dahnee | 7/23/04

The Postal Service I heard for the first time from a friend, then I heard them all over the radio then again from another friend who loves them to pieces. The Postal Service is unique and amazing. Musically and in their lyrics. I listened to them 4 days straight and have yet to grow tried of the beautiful music that comes from my cd player.

The Postal Service is....brillant.




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