What is a fan’s favorite gift? “A Tattered Line of String!”

by Ansley McDurmon

After ten years of hiatus, a subtle reintroduction to the blogsphere, and a promised reunion tour, The Postal Service delights fans with a new single, “A Tattered Line of String.” Paring intensely personal lyrics with upbeat, synth-driven instrumentation, the duo (Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and producer Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel) revives a long-devoted audience to the wonders of early 2000s indie pop. In fact, their comeback single seems as if it could have been taken from the band’s earlier album, “Give Up.”

Note the paired rhyme in an earlier TPS hit “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” and the similarly paired chorus in “A Tattered Line of String.” Though not identical, Gibbard’s lyrics do seem to follow a pattern that has remained unchanged since his 2003 hit. Personal, simple, and usually about a past relationship, each song’s content (with few exceptions) also mirrors that of the newest edition. Artists are continually changing, yet I see very small growth in the pair, who continue to juxtapose Tamborello’s electronic music-making skill with Gibbard’s soft spoken croon. I must ask, could we be listening to a B-Side?

Despite my own qualms, fans as a whole seem to enjoy “A Tattered Line of String.” Be it the unexpected musical pairings, an associating with band mate, or respect continuity, audiences around the blogsphere rave over The Postal Service’s return. We fell in love with the entirety of the band, correct? The sense of privacy that emanates from Gibbard’s lyrics and bits of hope inspired by Tamborello’s buoyant instrumentation could be the reminder listeners need to revisit favorites of the past. The Postal Service released a crowd-pleaser in “A Tattered Line of String,” for good or for worse, but their lack of change does not take away from the duo’s timelessness and talent.

For those who loved The Postal Service of the past and present, don’t forget to look online for upcoming tickets. Though “A Tattered Line of String” may be one of few (if only) songs the band releases within the coming year, one can count on a great show as well as a wonderful re-release.

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