I’ve done a little bit of writing about how amazing a year in music 2015 has proven to be so far. While I admit to feeling slightly let down by Modest Mouse’s release from a couple weeks go, I’m proud to report Death Cab’s latest doesn’t disappoint. Maybe Ben Gibbard does his best work when he is distraught, but heartbreak continues to suit him. For a deeper analysis on that point, and the idea that we’re always in a way coming of age, see NPR’s Stephen Thompson’s summation. As for me, I can say I like the first half of this album better than the second — but all around, I really enjoy it.
“No Room In Frame”: This opening track sure sounds like it could be about what may have factored into the split between Gibbard and his famous ex-wife: “Was I in the way when the cameras turned to face you? No room in frame for two.”
“Black Sun”: This killer single was made available weeks ago on Spotify, so I’ve played it to death since then. At the time I definitely wondered if this album might touch on Gibbard’s feelings about his divorce, based on choice, pointed lines like, “How could something so fair be so cruel, when this black sun revolves around you?”
“You’ve Haunted Me All My Life”: This is my favorite track from the album. But then I do like my Death Cab best at their most melodramatic.
“Little Wanderer”: This tells the story of modern long-distance love, in which a couple struggles to keep lines of communication open between ever-changing time zones and faulty internet connection.
“Everything’s A Ceiling”: This song sounds kind of like some older Death Cab stuff, like “You Heart Is An Empty Room” or something else from Plans. This line in particular sticks out as something just so human, and something everyone has thought and felt: “So what am I supposed to do? I’m calling out to you. But you’re miles away, it’s true, digging with someone new.”
Not My Favorite:
“Good Help Is So Hard To Find”: Oddly, it sounds more to me like a Tegan and Sara song than a Death Cab track. I do like the chorus, but this song, along with “El Dorado,” gets lost in the album after such a solid first half.
“Ingenue”: This one actually gets on my nerves, a possible first for any song in this band’s discography. The vocal repetition in the background grates on me, and the song verges on boring.
The good on this album by far outweighs the bad. I don’t think the band has lost much of what I love about it despite last year’s departure of Chris Walla. I hope they continue to make music I love to wallow in for years to come.
Kintsugi comes out tomorrow, March 31.