The fact that Elsinor and Barsuk, two relatively small labels, conspired to co-release Something About Airplanes should give some indication as to its quality. It's a solid, emotive, and frequently amazing indie rock record that foreshadows Death Cab for Cutie's eventual ascent into the mainstream. Sonically, the band falls somewhere on the dreamier and more pop-oriented end of Built to Spill's sound (particularly on Keep It Like a Secret), alongside the Posies' most pensive tracks, or with Delta Haymax -- that is, dynamic, melodic, and somewhat atmospheric Northwestern rock. What's important, however, is that the composition, arrangement, and perfect vocal harmonies of Something About Airplanes are all hugely effective; the band uses light touches of flute, synth, or cello to add the necessary textures to its well-crafted pop songs, and the result has a consistently impressive and thoroughly engaging quality that rivals Built to Spill's Keep It Like a Secret. Which is quite a compliment -- but tracks like "Bend to Squares" and "Pictures in an Exhibition" deserve as much adulation as one can offer.