This is a pretty good 18-track collection of rarities and unreleased material. It's not recommended to newcomers who want an introduction to the band or casual listeners who want only one or two of their CDs, but Death Cab for Cutie
fans should be pleased with the selection. The earliest recordings -- "This Charming Man" (a cover of a Smiths
song with some botched phrases such as "under this charming car"), "TV Trays," "New Candidate," and "Tomorrow" -- were done in November 1996. Several other tracks were recorded in May-July 1997; of these songs, "President of What," "Champagne From a Paper Cup," "Pictures in an Exhibition," "Amputations," and "Line of Best Fit" were later re-recorded for Something About Airplanes
(the differences between the original and re-recorded versions aren't incredibly interesting, but the songs themselves are good and they comprise only a small part of this collection anyway). "Flustered/Hey Tomcat!" (a showcase for tape manipulation that isn't particualarly interesting) and "State Street Residential" were originally recorded in December 1997 and March 1998 respectively; both were mixed in May 2002 for this album. "Wait," a cover version of a Secret Stars
song, and "Prove My Hypothesis" were released on 7" singles in 1999; both were remixed for this album. "Song for Kelly Huckably" was recorded in July 1999 (a new recording was released on the Forbidden Love
EP in 2000) and the original version, "Army Corps of Architects" (which was remixed for this album), was the B-side of a Sub Pop singles club 7" in 2000. As you might expect, the overall quality of the songs isn't quite up to the standard of the best Death Cab for Cutie
albums, but it comes close enough to entertain fans who aren't die-hard completists.