Death Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticism


3.0
good

Review

by Hatshepsut USER (13 Reviews)
January 15th, 2006 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


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]



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user ratings (1722)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Sepstrup
January 16th 2006


1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guess I like it more than you do. Nice review, though

choke383
January 16th 2006


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think you didn't understand this album, its a calm album. From your review what I see is your trying to overanylise this soft mellow album. Listning it with the booklet constantly trying to hear what all riffs consist of, you seem to be missing the essence of it.
You skip threw the great but softer tracks like, Passenger Seat, A Lack Of Color and Lightness.
The New Year is a good song but I dont think its as good as say it is.
...All in all I liked this album

Sepstrup
January 16th 2006


1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tiny Vessels is great as well... This album is a solid 4/5.

Hatshepsut
January 16th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I disagree about you saying that "The New Year" isn't special. I mean, come on, you basically described it as being a special song, heh. Good review for a good album.

Well yeah but I think that it's what I should expect so it's nothing out of the ordinary :p
Thanks Jom
And I just listened to the whole album about five times and got bored every time. I don't know about you guys though.

M A D R I G A L
January 16th 2006


103 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm actually quite fond of this band. I picked it up not knowing what to expect, and got some pretty good indie. Great job on the review as well. "Transatlanticism" is probably my favorite song, but only inching past many others.

mx
Moderator
January 16th 2006


733 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I disagree completely with this review... if anything, I think that 'Title and Registration' is the best track

Hatshepsut
January 16th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Heh, I knew you were gonna say something like that mx. It's ok because I can sort of see why people love this band. It's just that it doesn't seem to appeal to me as much as it does to other people.

ezbali
January 16th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like "Title and Registration" and "The Sound of Settling" best, then "Lightness", "Expo '86", "Transatlanticism" and "Death of an Interior Decorator" on the next level.
I like this album slightly better than "The Photo Album" which I like better than "We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes"

enterwilde
January 16th 2006


57 Comments


i think theyre jsut ok

Two-Headed Boy
January 17th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm going with mx on this one. it's an amazing album, and you made it out to be a completely average album. granted, it's your opinion, but DCFC had me on board since The Photo Album and it's hard to let go.This Message Edited On 01.17.06

B
January 17th 2006


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album.Title and Registration is an awesome song, it's fun to play as well. We Looked Like Giants however, I feel is the best track.

Hatshepsut
January 17th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

We Looked Like Giants however, I feel is the best track.

Finally someone agrees with me :p

danejoe
January 17th 2006


1 Comments


Bad rating, this album deserves the 4.5 it got on allmusic.com

Hatshepsut
January 17th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What do you mean bad rating, I think it deserves 3/5 so I give it 3/5.

NEDM
January 17th 2006


1113 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is my favorite Death Cab cd, and one of my favorite cds of all time.

vitriolboy
January 18th 2006


82 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is such a solid album.
There's something special in every track.
I think you underestimate this a bit in my opinion, but i guess thats just your view.
I loved Title and Registration and didnt think it was boring though.
I dont agree with it totaly, but you gave some good points.
Not a bad review.


Two-Headed Boy
January 18th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Origianally Posted by Beyond The Blue Print:
This is my favorite Death Cab cd, and one of my favorite cds of all time.

i can't agree more. just an incredible cd. every song has something unexplored by DCFC, and the result is just brilliant. We Looked Like Giants is just friggin amazing.This Message Edited On 01.18.06

OceanMechanic
June 25th 2014


451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I never understood the love for We Looked Like Giants. It's not a standout for me at all

Best on here is probably The New Year

Digging: Novembre - The Blue



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