Kintsugi – Death Cab For Cutie
Review By: Kaitlyn
When I first heard about this album, I was very excited. The idea behind it that Gibbard described, the idea of fixing something that is broken in a way that shows the beauty in the brokenness—similar to the idea behind the Japanese art form from which the album’s name is drawn, made me want to break every tea cup I had brought with me to college so that I, too, could pick up the pieces and make beautiful art. Kintsugi, the art, is absolutely beautiful on its own—I could probably go on for hours about the beauty of the mended heirlooms and the metaphors behind the mending, but I digress. The title of the album certainly set it up to be un chef-d’oeuvre, and it didn’t necessarily miss the mark.
I have heard many varying descriptions of Kintsugi. A friend of mine called it both “lame” and “boring”; another first referred to it at “Death Cab/10,” and decided that it was just another Codes and Keys after he listened again, an interesting notion, considering that Ben Gibbard had hoped that Kintsugi would be the album to bring back the fans that Codes and Keys had lost, claiming that it was more reminiscent of the band’s earlier work. When I first listened to this album, I found that nearly every song was top-notch and that the ones that weren’t never fell below mediocracy. However, none of the songs—which really are quite pleasant—really stuck with me. I gave it another listen after a period of time and found my suspicions to be confirmed: nothing on this album is really very memorable, even with enjoyable songs like “Good Help,” “Ingenue,” “No Room In Frame,” and “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive.” In a sense, Gibbard was right—the songs on this album are reminiscent of the band’s earlier work, as in none of them seem to break much ground. It is for that reason that I think Death Cab fans might come away from this album slightly disillusioned. I fell in love with Death Cab for the quality of their lyrics and the uniqueness of their sound, both in comparison to the other bands I was interested in at the time and in between individual songs. If Kintsugi had been the bait on that hook so many years ago, you can believe that I wouldn’t have taken a bite.
Favorite Tracks: Good Help (8), No Room In Frame (1), Ingenue (10), El Dorado (9), and Black Sun (2)
RIYL: The Decemberists, The Shins, Postal Service, Vampire Weekend