Death Cab for Cutie – Kintsugi (Atlantic; 2015)
It’s been four years since Codes and Keys was released, an album that strayed too far from the formula for many fans, and nearly a decade since Death Cab for Cutie released an album worth listening to. Kintsugi is named after a Japanese philosophy that encourages embracing flaws and imperfections. Rather than an inspiring metaphor for life, however, the name seems to be trying to garner sympathy for a flawed and imperfect album. Sure, some of the imagery invoked is interesting, but as a whole, the album is as bland as its cover. The lyrics are the album’s strongest asset, but many rely on clichés. It’s disappointing to hear a band that came up with dark and beautiful lines in the past now spit out upbeat meaningless verses. As a whole, Kintsugi tries to connect with the vibe of older Death Cab albums, making it slightly better than Codes and Keys, but the group has a long way to go if it ever hopes to recapture the talent displayed in Transatlanticism.
Trial Track: “Little Wanderer”