“Kintsugi” by Death Cab For Cutie: Album Review

Today’s the big day. Death Cab For Cutie’s new album, Kintsugi, becomes available today, and has already been added to the Spotify catalog so there’s no waiting time to get to our review of it. I won’t waste much time, but the review may seem to start off at an odd place. This is because the first two tracks, “No Room in Frame” and “Black Sun”, have already been reviewed by me on this site so I’ll be skipping over them this time.
“The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” is the third song on the album, but it’s where we’re going to start this review. It begins with a build of cacophonous sounds while blending into the easily paced guitars before cutting out at the height of its cacophony and leaving the guitars and vocals to carry the song. “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” has a slower pace and sticks mainly to guitars and vocals at first, but picks up both speed and instruments towards the middle for a period. It slows down again for a moment, and the vocals are stark against a quieter backing, eventually accompanied by a drum set before returning to the speed and mixture of instruments first introduced in the middle of the song. the song drops off a bit suddenly and makes way for the next track. “Little Wanderer” is the fourth track on the album and starts off with a somber sounding guitar that plays at a pace somewhere between moderate and slow. The vocals match the tone set by the guitar before becoming rather faint and distant during the chorus. The guitar seems to pick up a little energy after the first chorus, and the vocals continue to match the pace set by the guitar. The overall melody created by the various instruments sprinkled throughout the song is enchanting and really brings life to the song as the song continues to pick up energy in minuscule amounts. By the end of the song the somber feeling that opened the song is replaced by something that’s a lot more peaceful. “You’ve Haunted Me All My Life” starts off quietly with a a plucked guitar interrupting the silence sporadically. The vocals match the sounds made by the guitar easily, and both vocals and guitar are stark against a quiet hum of energy. The drums build slowly into the song, bringing the hum of energy up little by little until the silence is drowned out by a gorgeous blend of vocals and instruments. The pacing doesn’t noticeably alter at all, but it feels like it does once the silence is overcome. it’s a strangely peaceful song, and it ends by slowly fading back into the silence it opened with.
“Hold No Guns” begins with a slightly country feel to it’s vocals, which are stark against a background of quiet guitars. The song is slower, and the guitars build slowly. the vocals themselves seem to take a slight inspiration from Johnny Cash in my opinion, but they definitely have a tilt to them that is completely Death Cab For Cutie. “Hold No Guns” is a softly emotive song that carries it’s weight easily through with no need to have a fast pace. “Everything’s a Ceiling” is the seventh track on the album and opens with little to no build but an energy that seems to simply exist. It wastes no time in mixing in the vocals, and the song differs from “Hold No Guns” in obvious ways from the very first seconds. The energy of the song continues to build, with the mix of instruments keeping up a beautiful buzz like effect through the entirety of the song, with several making themselves slowly more known alongside the vocals. The energy just keeps building in the song and at moments it feels like there’s a loaded spring waiting to snap the song into pieces, but the transitions between the energy levels are done expertly and just builds up in the soul. “Good Help (Is So Hard to Find)” opens with a sort of funky beat that really catches you off guard and entices you to groove along to the song. The vocals are kind of quiet compared to the beat, but the grow a little bit as the song comes on. This eighth song on the album easily lives up to the energy of the previous song, but it’s moves at such a quick pace that it feels twice as long as it really is. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, because it’s a great song to bop along to.
“El Dorado” begins with a quiet but rapid build into a fast paced guitar that easily brings in the rest of the instruments in the song before dropping away to the vocals stark against the beat of the drums as the song continues to quickly build up it’s energy. It’s a particularly enchanting song, and easily keeps to the fast pace it sets for itself without feeling like it goes on for longer than it really does. “Ingénue” starts off with a quiet but energetic mix of sounds that easily build and hold the attention as the vocals easily cut across them but don’t draw all the attention away from the strange medley of sounds. It’s a peaceful song  for me, despite the way that it builds up my energy at the same time. I find I like quite a bit of the actual lyrics of the song. “Binary Sea” is the final track on the album, opening with a deep piano melody that builds into what sounds like a distant heartbeat seconds before the vocals chime in and are quickly joined by a mix of instruments. The song keeps to an easy pace and is deeply evocative, but there is a sense of depth with several sounds that draw thoughts of the deep ocean to the mind. The piano tune that started the song stays present and evident throughout, carrying the song right up until the last few notes.

All in all, Kintsugi has a lot to offer. It was well worth the wait for it’s release and blends a lot of speeds and themes together in a very elegant manner. I definitely recommend taking a few moments out to listen to it in it’s entirety because it is honestly completely worth the hour or so that it takes to play the album.

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