Death Cab for Cutie’s New Album ‘Kintsugi’ Channels Ex-Guitarist

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 01.12.15 in News

Last summer, longtime Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/producer Chris Walla announced he was leaving the group. Now, the Pacific Northwest indie-rock alums have unveiled a new album, Kintsugi, on the way March 31 via Atlantic. As for whether it’s their last album with Walla or their first album without him, the lines are blurred.

As Rolling Stone reports, Walla still plays on the album, and his exit also inspires the title, a reference to a Japanese art form and philosophy based on repairing broken ceramics with gold to highlight the cracks. “There’s been no ‘There was four, now there’s only three,” frontman Ben Gibbard told RS. “There will only be three of us in photos now, and we’ll augment the live band for the time being and if we find ourselves playing with people that we feel can contribute on records, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Even before Walla revealed his official departure, the album was shaping up to be Death Cab’s first without him on production duties. With them in the studio this time was Rich Costey, who previously produced albums by Franz Ferdinand, Muse and Interpol. Songs on Kintsugi include “Black Sun” which reportedly involves Gibbard trying to square his history with the now, and “No Room in Frame,” which starts with instrumental ambience built to tape by Walla and lyrically harkens to the Death Cab of old.

Kintsugi is the first studio album from Gibbard, bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr since 2011′s Codes and Keys, which at the time presented a band seemingly reveling in adult domesticity. Gibbard released a solo album, Former Lives in 2012. He reunited his electro-pop duo the Postal Service for a 2013 live tour, the subject of recent documentary Everything Will Change.

“This is an opportunity for the band to become something it could only become by losing a founding member,” Gibbard told RS of the new album.

Check out our 2011 interview with Walla, and get caught up with our feature Icon: Death Cab for Cutie.

Death Cab for Cutie, 'Kintsugi'

Kintsugi (March 31, Atlantic)

1. No Room in Frame
2. Black Sun
3. The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
4. Little Wanderer
5. You’ve Haunted Me All My Life
6. Hold No Guns
7. Everything’s a Ceiling
8. Good Help (Is So Hard to Find)
9. El Dorado
10. Ingénue
11. Binary Sea