“I don’t know where to begin…” is the opening lyric to Death Cab For Cutie’s eighth album Kintsugi – a statement that would be totally understandable considering the changes the band has been through in the four years since their last album. Since the release of Codes and Keys the band has parted ways (amicably) with founding member, guitarist, and producer Chris Walla. And frontman Ben Gibbard divorced actress Zooey Deschanel. These events would profoundly impact any band, and in typical Death Cab style, the changes are exposed and explored in brutal honesty.
The tempo of the album is quite upbeat, but don’t let the tempo hide the darker, personal lyrics. Gibbard is the most raw and intimate on the opening track No Room In Frame – “Was I in your way, When the camera turned to face you, No room in frame for two.” The single Black Sun follows reminding the listener that “there is beauty in failure.” The album hits its stride on the more up-tempo songs — highlights include Good Help (Is Hard To Find), The Ghost of Beverly Hills, and El Dorado. Hold No Guns may be the weakest track on the album – an acoustic track that might’ve been more satisfying if placed at the end of the album.
Kintsugi is a steady listen from start to finish – the band isn’t really breaking new ground, but in their 17 year run, Death Cab For Cutie is one of the most consistent bands and their fans will find comfort in that fact. The loss of Walla as a producer didn’t condemn the band to mediocrity or force the band to jump into unfamiliar territory. Despite the changes all is well with Death Cab For Cutie.
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