Death Cab For Cutie – Asphalt Meadows

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Overall Score: 8/10
songs: 8/10
lyrics: 8/10
music: 8/10
Pros: A welcome collection of songs by a band hitting a new creative peak
Cons: Some moments don't land as well as others

There was a moment, where Death Cab For Cutie felt like they would be trapped in time. Destined to be defined by their inclusion in popular franchises like The O.C and Twilight. Yet all these years later, they are still here making generation defining albums

Asphalt Meadows is an incredibly rich album, showcasing all the shades in the band’s palette. Opener I Don’t Know How I Survive feels reminiscent of the work Frontman Ben Gibbard created with The Postal Service

Roman Candles is as explosive as the title suggests with its thumping bass line, building towards a fuzzy, frenetic crescendo. It will sound sublime when dropped into the live set.

Here to Forever has a remarkably sunny disposition, for a song that lyrically screams existential crisis. 

Foxglove through the Clearcut ebbs and flows, a simple beat, and lightly strummed guitar complimented by a spoken word vocal, create a moment of serene majesty. It gives the listener a chance for reflective pause between some of the album’s bigger moments.

I Miss Strangers feels like a classic in waiting.It has a hook to die for and is buoyed by the irresistible line “These days I miss strangers, more than I miss my friends” which I think is something we have all related to at least once in our lives.

The biggest strength Death Cab For Cutie as a band have always possessed is Ben Gibbard’s storytelling ability. Asphalt Meadows see’s this placed front & centre. Even on some of the album’s hidden gems like Rand Mcnally & Wheat like Waves, while they don’t shine quite as bright as other moments, the lyrics raise them above being mere filler.

Musically Asphalt Meadows is the band’s most adventurous and diverse collection of songs in some time. Playing with different moods and sounds to create a sonic canvas, making it stand above some other albums in their catalogue, while still being undeniably them.

Not many bands can stick around for 25 years and still put out albums of increasingly quality. While this is 100% percent a Death Cab For Cutie album, the little creative flourishes give them a renewed sense of identity. In a musical landscape now populated by bands & artists following in their footsteps, it’s nice to see them prove once again why they are still the leaders of the pack.

Asphalt Meadows releases on September 16th via Atlantic Records.

For more information on Death Cab For Cutie, like their official page on Facebook

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