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Album Review: Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi

3 min read

The world has been following the career of US alternative rock sensation Death Cab For Cutie for 18 years and they’re still going strong, their eighth studio album Kintsugi has been highly anticipated since its announcement for release; it will be a euphoric moment for fans when they get their hands on a copy, but it will also be a sad moment as long time guitarist/songwriter Chris Walla has left the group and the new album is the last to feature him. It’s been four years since we last heard anything new from these guys, and sadness aside we’re sure Kintsugi will be a doozy.

Death Cab For Cutie - KintsugiInitially we are treated to second single No Room In Frame and it’s this refreshingly mellow track, there’s nothing like some smooth sailing to set the mood, the only worry was that later we seemed to lose the vocal over the guitars and drums; you can hear why the track Black Sun would be released as a single, but launching it as the lead single seems a little questionable as it’s not entirely gripping, however its perks are the earthy guitar in the bridge and subtle vocal work. Third single Ghosts Of Beverley Drive is a little more upbeat to the liking for a radio ready track, its pace is energetic and the melody/guitar line are desired; Little Wanderer is the least captivating single as it seems to drags a little. You’ve Haunted Me All My Life has a nice ring to it, its guitar intro grabs your attention from the get go, but overall it became another forgettable tune as the melody never really had a climax; Hold No Guns is a nice little ballad that isn’t overdone and sounds natural.

Everything’s A Ceiling opens with some airy synths and it has a catchy melody in its verses, definitely receives a nod; the energy flowing through Good Help (Is So Hard To Find) recaptures any attention that may have been lost, the guitar picking is intriguing and the concept is relatable. The guitar savvy El Dorado takes you on a journey back to the group’s indie/rock roots, it sounds like a track you would hear on an indie radio station; Ingenue is a little tiring, the repetitive “la la la la” going on in the background was tolerable to begin with before it became mundane and the overall vibe of the track fell short of being memorable. Lastly, Binary Sea takes the album out with some nice work on the keyboard and a simple melody, nothing too complicated to burden us as the album comes to a close.

Kintsugi is another decent release by DCFC, there were tracks listed that became instant favourites (No Room In Frame, Ghosts Of Beverley Drive, Hold No Guns and Good Help), while there were others that either need time to grow on you or just won’t (Black Sun, Little Wanderer and Ingenue). There is something that sounds so organic about Death Cab’s music, you could expect to hear a handful of its tracks played on independent radio, even though the reality is they are signed to a major label; in terms of modern sound and consumer tastes, the group are heading in the right direction. Kintsugi needed a few more tracks that you can remember wholeheartedly, as a collective you could soon find yourself skipping past particular tracks to listen to those that appeal to you.