Review: Death Cab’s comeback after ‘Codes and Keys’

Katie Smith, Editor-in-Chief

I have an eclectic taste in music, but Death Cab for Cutie has been my favorite band since I was 14.

I am willing to admit their last album “Codes and Keys” was under whelming but I expect the same moving lyrics and soothing sound I love to come through on the band’s newest album, “Kintsugi,” which debuts Saturday.

“Kintsugi” will mark the band’s first album since guitarist and producer, Chris Walla’s, exit.

The band’s lyricist, singer and most publicly recognized member, Ben Gibbard, told NME News Walla’s his departure was a long-time coming.

He said Walla, who has been a member of Death Cab for Cutie for 15 years, had developed a complicated relationship with Gibbard, which made it hard for both members to discuss the direction their music should be headed.

Since the band released its first album, “Something About Airplanes” in 1998, each new release has offered a unique and unprecedented sound.

Gibbard, who has been known to pursue solo projects throughout his career, and is also a founding member of The Postal Service (famous for “Such Great Heights”) has played with different sounds, but consistently provided his listeners with tracks comprised of beautiful, quality lyrics.

What we’ve heard from “Kintsugi” so far is no exception.

Their current single “Black Sun” for example, doesn’t have an exciting baseline or elaborate vocals, but it doesn’t need them.

Ben Gibbard’s voice is the main instrument I want to hear when I listen to Death Cab.

You are intentionally made to lean in, and listen to the words, and any highfalutin additions might distract from the songs’ messages.

From the four songs audiences have been allowed to preview so far, it can be concluded this album focuses on both the anxiety and hopefulness of meeting up again with an estranged lover.

“No Room in the Frame” examines a power struggle in a failed relationship, comparing it to a picture frame with room for only one person, suggesting that no matter who the subject’s lover is, they are determined to live a life alone.

“You cannot outrun a ghost/Speeding south bound lanes with abandon
It catches you on the coast/Or on the cliffs of the Palisades you killed the engine
/And then it hovers above/Reeling bodies failing to discover/The thing they once knew as love/Raising their voices to convince one another . . .”

“Kintsugi” will include some of Walla’s final work before leaving the band, which will make for an interesting potential shift in musical direction throughout the album.

I don’t think I am alone among Death Cab fans in my curiosity to see how Walla’s absence will effect the band’s direction.

Regardless of where they’re headed, their mellow and thought-provoking nature is sure to please.

Katies Smith is a senior journalism major.

She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].