Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism

Very few bands have the ability to reach the heart the way Death Cab for Cutie does. Whether it be Ben Gibbard’s gentlemanly vocals or his pensive words, DCFC are kings of emotive rock without being classified as "emo.” After riding the college charts for eons with their last album, The Photo Album, and exploring other ventures (Gibbard with side project the Postal Service and Chris Walla producing records by the Thermals, the Stratford 4 and Hot Hot Heat), the band are back for another shot at superstardom. Transatlanticism, their fourth album, continues the winning formula while furthering their sound with more input from Walla’s keyboards, and every other band member. Integrating ideas from the whole group, Gibbard’s role was relieved of some pressure, which opened up the band’s sound from the tightly wound package it was two years ago. The strength of Gibbard’s picturesque lyrical content on heartrending numbers such as the epic title track and "A Lack of Color” reaches new levels for the songwriter’s already impressive file of love songs. Fitting in nicely alongside these are well-constructed pop romps that show everything isn’t always so serious in camp Death Cab. "The Sound of Settling” contains the band’s most contagious pop moment to date, pushing more bah-bahs then Hanson did mmm bops. "Expo ‘86” also highlights a playful side with loud guitars, piano and Walla’s creative strokes on the synth. The most satisfying DCFC album to date, Transatlanticism challenges the Postal Service’s Give Up as Gibbard’s best album of the year. (Barsuk)