Death Cab for Cutie: Kintsugi (Atlantic) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Death Cab for Cutie



Mar 30, 2015 Death Cab for Cutie Bookmark and Share

Kintsugi, Death Cab for Cutie‘s newest album and the follow-up to 2011’s Codes and Keys, takes its title from the Japanese art of piecing broken pottery back together; this is especially apt, given recent changes to the group. Lead guitarist and founding member, Chris Walla, left the band in August 2014, though he remained artistically involved until the album’s completion. Walla had been a member of Death Cab for 17 years and produced all seven of its preceding albums. This is the first one produced by anyone else (Rich Costey did the honors), and if Kintsugi is representative of Death Cab’s sound without Walla producing, then there’s a good chance his absence will be greater felt than anticipated.

Whether due to Walla’s diminished involvement, group dynamics during production, or any other factor that might have played a part, the album is surprisingly underwhelming and far from the group’s strongest. As a whole, Kintsugi lacks the variety and inspiration typical to Death Cab, but it is by no means devoid of memorable tracks.

Death Cab seems to have saved the best for last on this one. Track eight (of 11), “Good Help (Is So Hard to Find),” boasts perhaps the album’s most memorable chorus (try getting it out of your head after listening), and the penultimate offering (“Ingénue”) is poetic and melodious with beautiful lyrics. Similarly, the album closer, “Binary Sea” is a gorgeous, more subdued offering that is almost hypnotic at times.

Despite its strengths, Kintsugi fails to leave the same lasting impression as so much of the band’s prior discography. Gone is the intricacy of such earlier tracks as “I Will Possess Your Heart,” and the fun of “You Are a Tourist.” What remains is a lack of nuance and ambition uncharacteristic to the band. Could the lackluster release be the result of Walla abdicating the role of producer (and, later, the group)? It’s hard to tell for sure, but whatever the cause, it would appear Death Cab has yet to complete kintsugi on itself in the wake of its recent changes. (

Author rating: 5.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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March 30th 2015

5.5 is a joke, it deserves so much higher then that.
It’s infectious, CLEARER and more polished then all of Wallas production (which isn’t to say that makes it better) but holy shit gibbards voice sounds so matured/ full and nostalgic all the same.

This album takes codes and keys crazy ideas and applies it to plans and trans style.

Your review sucks, learn to like good music.