After releasing only one album in 2003, Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello, a.k.a The Postal Service, still have a large following of devoted fans listening to their music. It turns out that mixing electronica with Gibbard’s vocals isn’t a bad idea at all, which is shown through their dedicated fan base and "Give Up"’s overall positive reception. Tamborello’s electronic beats are well constructed and complex enough to differentiate the band from other artists of a similar nature, and they really add to the band’s sound.
The band began as a collaboration between the two artists when Gibbard did vocals for a song called "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" by Dntel (Dntel is the name Tamborello makes music under as a solo artist). The song was that well received that they decided to continue collaborating on material together. Tamborello would create the instrumental beats and music and then send the songs to Gibbard, who would edit the song and add his vocal lines before sending the songs back to Tamborello through the United States Postal Service. Hence the name of the duo.
Luckily, a couple of the best songs from "Give Up" are available legally and for free. Grab "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" here, and "Such Great Heights" from here. Both mp3’s are from the band’s website, if you’re wondering. Personally, I prefer "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" just because the layered vocal harmonies sound so amazing, but they’re both very good songs. If you don’t think you’ve heard "Such Great Heights" before, once you hear it you might recognise it. It’s been used in TV shows and a tonne of ads, and even a film trailer (for Garden State, if you’re wondering). Plus it is pretty popular.
You can download their cover of Phil Collins’ "Against All Odds" from here if you are so inclined. It’s a pretty good song too. The New York Post named it one of the best covers of all time. At first I was wondering where the hell it was going and why it was meant to be so great. Wait for it to really start and you’ll understand why it’s so good.
Over the years it’s become gradually more and more apparent that a follow up to "Give Up" is unlikely, with both musicians too busy with other work to find the time to get another album together. Gibbard has been reported as saying:
"It’s just not a priority for either of us. So the next Postal Service record may or may never happen.
Jimmy and I are still throwing ideas back and forth, but as time goes on, we find ourselves busy with our own music. We have some stuff, but it’s been difficult to find the time and the drive to do the record. I’d love to finish it at some point and maybe even do some performances. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be." – February 29, 2008 (via Spinner)
Shortly after, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Gibbard is quoted as saying that:
"There never really was a plan to do a second album. We work from time to time together but we have other things that take up all of our time." – December 11, 2008 (via Rolling Stone)
So although it isn’t a priority for The Postal Service to come out with anything new, which they may never do, at least the album they did create is an amazing one.