A few weeks back, I spotted a used copy of Home, Vol. 5, a split EP between Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Andrew Kenny of American Analog Set.
I listened to that EP quite a lot when it was first released, but I never got around to picking up a physical copy. It’s been nearly 15 years since it came out, and I had to listen to it on Google Play to remind myself what drew me to it.
I barely remembered that I actually wrote a review for it in the earliest incarnation of this site.
Home, Vol. 5 holds up really well, and while my writing about it was clumsy and stilted, the conclusions still bear out.
Gibbard had a really good year in 2003. Death Cab for Cutie would release its best album, Transatlanticism, that year, and Gibbard’s collaboration on the Postal Service would also prove fruitful. On Home, Vol. 5, he already sounds ready for a major label budget.
But Andrew Kenny’s quiet delivery and darker writing lingers much longer. When Gibbard sings Kenny’s “Choir Vandals”, he’s forced to turn the wattage on his demeanor, and when Kenny takes on Gibbard’s “Line of Best Fit”, he’s not browbeated to be more than he is.
Split EPs are economical for labels, but at their worst, they result in clumsy pairings. Home, Vol. 5 avoids that pitfall by allowing Gibbard and Kenny to inhabit different corners of the same aesthetic space.
The sparse instrumentation and light production make the EP cohesive without impinging on their distinct styles.