Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., Oct. 27, 2006
There's only room in this world for one Death Cab for Cutie. Many have tried to imitate the precious, love-stricken songcraft of Ben Gibbard, and local quintet Pompeii is no different. On debut LP Assembly, Dean Stafford leads his troupe through tracks of longing and beauty. Unfortunately, there isn't an original measure among the bunch. The outstanding quality of Pompeii's live shows lies in their ability to orchestrate emo, often placing Caitlin Bailey's cello front and center in a decidedly un-Cursive way. Those symphonic interludes are lost on an album produced to a radio-friendly gleam, which just puts Pompeii in line with a billion other emo bands longing for 101X-dom. Songs like "Numbers" and "The State" hint at the potential of the band long instrumental segments intersect poignant lyrics and complex layers but when all is sung and replayed, Jimmy Eat World ("Miracle Mile"), Built to Spill ("Relative Is Relative"), and the aforementioned indie darlings (the rest) have already treaded this path. Maybe next time around, Bailey's cello will take its rightful place in the mix, evolving more classicism into a typical indie rock spectrum.