Death Cab’s damage control on ‘Kintsugi’

The alt-rock darlings have returned with a much more mature and refined sound in contrast to previous works. (Photo provided by
The alt-rock darlings have returned with a much more mature and refined sound in contrast to previous works. (Photo provided by

American alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie released their latest album on March 31.

The band is comprised of Ben Gibbard on vocals and guitar, Nick Harmer on bass and Jason McGerr on drums. Death Cab for Cutie is known for their “unconventional” instrumentation and unique lyrics as well as Gibbard’s idiosyncratic voice.

The band’s seventh album, “Codes and Keys,” featured their first number one single “You Are a Tourist.”

“Kintsugi” is Death Cab for Cutie’s eighth studio album. Kintsugi, the album’s namesake, is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery and a philosophy that believes that treating damage and repair as a part of an object’s history rather than something that needs to be hidden. This album is the last album lead guitarist and founding member, Chris Walla, will be a part of. He announced during the recording of “Kintsugi” that he would not return for any future albums. However, Walla contributed to both the recording and creative process of “Kintsugi” and remained a “full” band member until the album’s completion. The album was mainly written by Gibbard, who had some help from his fellow bandmates and Walla.

“I’m not going to open it up for full discussion, of course, but I have always been very open and earnest about some things in my life, some things that are not directly in my life, but they’re twirling around me at the time,” Gibbard said in a recent interview with

The first single off the album, “Black Sea,” contains interesting lyrics with an interesting meaning. In the track, the lyrics are about things not going someone’s way and their partner not being able to forgive the other. The song’s instrumentals are very bouncy with an awesome guitar riff that follows every chorus that adds to the cheeriness ofthe instrumentals.

The final track on the album, “Binary Sea,” contains references to Greek mythology and seems to be a comment on modern day reliance on technology. The first verse of the song is talking about the Greek Titan Atlas and how the world has shrunk.

“Oh Atlas could not understand/ The world was so much smaller than/ The one he used to hold before/ But the weight it brought him to the floor/ As you watched him struggle to his feet/ You took photos capturing his defeat/ And messaged them to all your friends/ And we all laughed at his expense.”

The instrumentals on the track are what really draw the listener in. The piano crescendos and decrescendos to create a wave-like sound while the guitar strikes a single chord at a time and creates a sound like a whale’s song. The instrumentation is highly unique in this piece.

Overall, the individual tracks on “Kintsugi” are highly cohesive and create a fun album that is perfect for a fun, sunny drive on those fabulous spring days. While the lyrics seem too dark, the instrumentals in all of the tracks make for a very upbeat and chill album perfect for any Death Cab fan. Definitely a must listen.

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