¡All Time Quarterback!
The songs are relatively short and rely on subtle arrangements that allow them to be played with just vocals and a toy guitar. Therefore the power of the songs has to come from the vocals, which Gibbard is able to execute. The lack of production and the recording background noise tends to become part of the record. Standout track Underwater is the one you will likely return to most often, which is why it was re-recorded as a DCFC song at a later date. The fragile nature of the vocals and the added content of the song give it substance and appeal. Sock Hop has a little more upbeat nature which is a cool change of pace and Cleveland's shift in vocal arrangements gives it a little more depth while Stark Mobile has Gibbard singing closer to his Death Cab fashion.
This record is likely to remain a collector's item but it really does show you some insight in how the creative process is for Ben Gibbard. Because of the demo-like state of the recordings you get to imagine how early conceptions of songs could sound and if you compare it to other work by Gibbard, it gives you an idea of the trajectory these songs take as they get 'colored in' and come full circle. Musically, "The Envelope Sessions" are nothing astonishing, but artistically they are quite remarkable as they deliver a look-in at the conceptualisation and development of songs/songwriting.