In the mainstream wake of the Postal Service's success, plenty of indie rockers are setting down their guitars and picking up synthesizers (ironic since so many electronic artists have slung axes as of late). Headphones might seem like Postal Service redux, featuring Pedro the Lion guitarist David Bazan and drummer Tim Walsh. But where both acts employ the formula of emo-tinged vocals and basic bleeping melodies, the similarities end when Bazan sings about the darker reaches of his psyche. Song titles like "Shit Talker," "I Never Wanted You," and "Natural Disaster" speak volumes of this album's intent. "Hello Operator" employs a sonar signal as its main hook, while "Major Cities" is a solo keyboard number that stays on the black ivories until Bazan finally moans in during the final minute. So no, there's not an indie hit to be found on Headphones, although the maraca shake of "Natural Disaster" does liven things up despite the chorus "You would wait on the rapture, natural disaster/To come around." Not exactly the tone the kids of The O.C. are waiting to hear. So forget the easy Gibbard/Tamborello comparisons and look here if you seek more mope with your Moog.
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AllMusic Review by Joshua Glazer