Love Letter To A Record: Trace Decay’s Jordan De Pas On Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Plans’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become. 

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Trace Decay – Death Cab For Cutie, Plans (2005)

‘Plans’ was one of those albums I didn’t even realise I needed. I remember first hearing the lead single ‘Soul Meets Body’ on triple j one day and being ecstatic that Death Cab For Cutie had a new album out.

At the time I had only just started listening to their previous albums Transatlanticism and The Photo Album which served as a turning point in my own musical endeavours. I was starting to move away from the heavy music and punk music I had been so into at the time and was searching for something to reinvigorate the entire creative process. The idea of clean and reverberated guitars mixed with singer Ben Gibbard’s honest and distinctive lyricism completely changed my concept of songwriting and how the power of lyrics could impart so much emotion/wisdom into a three-minute song.

The album is largely about the life and death of relationships, which resonated with me instantly as I’ve always been prone to write about similar themes, especially failed romantic relationships. One song that still really resonates with me is ‘Brothers On A Hotel Bed’ which, as I understand it depicts the eventual demise of a relationship over time.

The idea that love is not impervious to the harshness time, takes on a partnership, and that by the end of it you’ve become so distant from each other that you might as well treat each other as strangers, or even like a family member instead of lover. It’s a poignant message and it’s beautifully portrayed through Death Cab’s stylistic approach to sound, incorporating delicate electric piano riffs with a high energy yet calm drum beat underpinned by Ben’s vocals.

Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans has inspired much of my songwriting over the years, which has directly helped me express my inner thoughts and feelings through my music. It’s one of those albums that changed my life musically and that I would hope to pay forward one day if I ever got the opportunity to.

Trace Decay are a Melbourne-based indie-pop duo, who’ve just revealed their debut EP ‘Monstrous Subconscious’ – produced by frontman Jordan De Pas and Edvard Hakansson and mastered by Malcolm Besley (Northeast Party House, Client Liaison, Slowly Slowly).

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