Transatlanticism- Death Cab for Cutie
When I first read that band's name, I expected it to be a metal band. Death Cab for Cutie. My friend had introduced me to them several times, and then some more friends did. As I got barraged by recommendations, I felt the need to listen to this album because they kept telling me how good it was. I went to this site to see for myself how some fellow Sputnik-ers felt about it. It was surprisingly an indie pop band, in the same genre as bands such as Franz Ferdinand. It was generally praised by quite a few people so I decided to check this out. I expected a lot of good things, and while I found some, there weren't as many as I was looking for. Perhaps I set my expectations too high, but I'm not sure what it was. This doesn't live up to expectations.
Of course, this has its high points. It's indie pop, so you expect it to be soothing and easy to listen to. And it is. One of the best songs is the first one, The New Year
. There's nothing special about the song, actually, but everything works so well. The beat of the drums, the singing (Ben's voice fits perfectly), the guitars are pretty loud for this band, and lyrically, it's pretty good too [Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn as thirty dialogues bleed into one
]. It all fits and makes a pretty catchy and enjoyable song. Even this song has its flaws, as So this is the new year
is repeated a bit too much. But it ends soon enough. Another great song is We Looked Like Giants
. it switches back and forth from a major to a minor key and that's pretty damn addicting. The chorus picks up and gets energetic, continuing the minor-major pattern that you can't help but love, with distorted guitars and louder singing. Lyrically it isn't half bad either [And together there, in a shroud of frost, the mountain air began to pass from every pane of weathered glass
]. I think that's the best song on the album.
Then there are the songs that are good, but have room for improvement. The first song that I think of is Expo '86
. The lyrics mainly carry this song [ And it seems by the time that I have figured out what it's worth, the squeaking of our skin against the steel has gotten worse
]. They turn on the distortion during the bridge and that's the height of the song. It sounds great to tell you the truth. But then, after the bridge, there's the room for improvement. It gets repetitive. It gets old because he repeats The squeaking of our skin against the steel has gotten worse
, then it drags on an extra, unnecessary 10 seconds. I might be a little harsh here, but it bothers me because it's a good song up to there. Another song that's almost there is Transatlanticism
, the title track. It's very quiet, with the piano being the main focus. It's very slow, and the guitars come in a minute and a half after the song started, playing a riff that would be heard more than once. That riff sounds good now, but when a similar riff is repeated again later ten times, it gets incredibly annoying. Take out that riff in certain spots and you have a very, very solid track. The piano works very well with Ben's voice and an occasional chord on the guitar.
And now for the ugly. And I really don't wanna do this because the one thing that all the ugly songs have in common is that they're boring and put you to sleep. But that could easily be avoided because the one thing that's bad is that they're repeating the same thing over and over again. Like in Title and Registration
, it's got a really great and promising intro with the guitar riff, and there's even a xylophone solo thrown in there. But it is boring
, amazingly boring if you listen to the rest of the song. The verses are the same old thing, singing with the same old guitar riff, and there are two verses like that. Another song with wasted potential is The Sound of Settling
. Again, it starts very promising with Ben singing pretty decent lyrics [My brain's repeating "If you've got an impulse, let it out" but they never make it past my mouth
]. But then the poppy chorus comes in and it really doesn't make that much sense. Ba-baaa, this is the sound of settling: Ba baa
. What? Then that is repeated again many times, which is too much for a song barely over two minutes long.
This is not a bad
album. It's got its songs and it's got its moments. Songs like The New Year and We Looked Like Giants save it. Those are wonderfully written pieces of music. But it has its low points, like Title and Registration and The Sound of Settling. Those songs have tons of potential to be great, great songs like the standouts I mentioned. But they were ruined. Kinda like the album; I really expected a lot but I didn't get it. Disappointed to say the least.
Overall Album Rating- 3/5 [Good]