This is going to be a tough review to write. I probably haven't listened to another album more frequently in the past four years than I've listened to Give Up. I know pretty much every word, every note, and every moment of silence. It's one of my favorite albums of the 2000s, so it's going to be difficult to listen to it with objective ears and say something other than, "I love this album, so it must be great!"
The music is consistently solid. The warm and quirky electronics of Jimmy Tamborello (aka Dntel) are the yin to the yang of Ben Gibbard (aka that dude from Death Cab For Cutie). When the two men gel, the music they make together is wonderfully rich and captivating. When they don't gel -- something that only happens a few times and passes quickly when it does -- the music is rich but boring. "This Place Is a Prison" is desperate and creepy, "Sleeping In" is sweet and poignant, and "Brand New Colony" has some of the most creative expressions of devotion that I've ever heard, whether in song, poem, or prose.
The photos are odd and kind of charming, and the typefaces have the same juxtaposition of traditional and modern that the music does. Most of the lyrics are excellent, and I'm glad they're included. Otherwise, though, there's nothing special here.
Listen if you like: Death Cab for Cutie, electronic indie rock, '80s new wave, charming pop songs with excellent lyrics
If it were food, it'd be: a picnic lunch with your ex on a sunny September afternoon