1035x1035-Kintsugi_Cover_HRDeath Cab for Cutie is finally legal, as the band celebrates their eighteenth year with an admirable new album “Kintsugi,” one that serves as a nice swan song for the bands guitarist/producer Chris Walla. The opening track “No Room in Frame,” sets the tone for an album that is more of a return to form for the band after 2012’s more keyboard based “Codes and Keys.” The album title is seemingly a nod to the decision to bring back the guitars and sounds of old, as kintsugi is, according to Wikipedia, “a type of Japanese art involving fixing broken pottery, and as a philosophy of treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”
When the album hits, it really hits. Ben Gibbard and Co. have been around the block enough times to know how to write an indie rock gem, such as the aforementioned opening track “No Room in Frame,” lead single “Black Sun,” and “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive.” Coincidentally not only are these three the opening tracks from the album, they’re also the first three the band started playing live to preview the album. The album has a few other really solid songs as well. “Hold No Guns” serves as the best thing the band have done with an acoustic guitar since “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.” The song features a beautifully vulnerable vocal delivery from Gibbard, one that really totes a vocal range that has surely grown since the last time he wore his heart on his sleeve with nothing more than six strings to carry it home.
The band does stumble a little bit here though, most notably in “Good Help (Is So Hard to Find,)” an uncharacteristically upbeat, almost disco-esque song at times. “Little Wanderer” fits it’s title, as the song tends to feel as if it’s meandering a bit, and feels a bit phoned in. Overall, the album is good, and as a band thats been churning out good when not great albums for close to two decades, that is surely an impressive feat. Few bands tend to win over new fans at this point in their career, and this album doesn’t really beg to win Death Cab any new fans but, it will certainly leave the ones they already have more than content.