We have to declare an interest: we love Death Cab For Cutie and would give any album a glowing review, but even we have to admit that the band have left the glory days of 2003’s Transatlanticism far behind.
The early songs were about new-found love and hope, now they’re all getting older and more realistic. We don’t know if any of them have actually been divorced but Chris Walla, founding member, has departed the band itself.
The album title refers to a Japanese art of mending broken ceramics using precious metals, giving the art more value broken and fixed than it had whole. You can work the symbolism of that out for yourself.
Walla has left and doesn’t produce though he does play on the album and in part the sound is pretty much as before. Death Cab’s thing is gentle emotions played very loudly, via a mix of many instruments that give the songs power — we’ve seen them live a couple of times and they’re one of the loudest bands we’ve seen, songs starting off quietly and ending up as a sonic assault on the ears. (Which is why you should always wear earplugs, kids).
In a nutshell musically it’s more of the same but the songs are shorter than of old and hope has given way to some gloominess. They’re still excellent, and one of the best bands around.