Death Cab For Cutie comes to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium Saturday June 11th at 8pm. Tickets go on sale Friday March 11th and will be available through the USCC Box Office, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or by ordering online.
Death Cab for Cutie knew immediately that Kintsugi would fit perfectly as the title of their eighth studio album. A philosophy derived from the Japanese art of repairing cracked ceramics with gold to highlight flaws instead of hiding them, kintsugi speaks to the way an object’s history is part of its aesthetic value. “Considering what we were going through internally, and with what a lot of the lyrics are about, it had a great deal of resonance for us — the idea of figuring out how to repair breaks and make them a thing of beauty,” says bassist Nick Harmer, who suggested the name to singer-guitarist Ben Gibbard and drummer Jason McGerr. “Philosophically, spiritually, emotionally, it seems perfect for this group of songs.”
Long before they gave the album its name, the band embarked on a process that forced them to do things differently than they ever had before. For instance, in the course of making their seven previous albums, the Seattle band hadn’t written much in the studio together. They had always preferred to hone their arrangements separately, or with just two or three of them playing at once. But when it came time to record Kintsugi, Death Cab for Cutie went into the studio with the openest of minds. Their willingness to try anything — including a twenty-minute exploration that evolved into one of the album’s finest tracks, “The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive” — yields Death Cab’s most compelling new work in years: an album that packs as much sonic as it does emotional wallop.
One of the songs on Kintsugi that Gibbard says he holds closest to his heart is “Little Wanderer,” where he sings, “You sent a photo out of your window of Paris of what you wished that I could see. But someone’s gotta be the lighthouse and that someone’s gotta be me.” He explains: “There are innumerable songs about, like, ‘The road ain’t no place to start a family.’ ‘Home Sweet Home’ by Motley Crue, ‘Gone Til November,’ by Wyclef Jean, and so on. But nobody ever writes a song about sitting at home, waiting for someone to come back. And for so much of my life, I’ve been the one off somewhere in the world trying to maintain a connection through digital portals. Now, being with someone who travels pretty much all the time, I feel like I’ve gotten a taste of my own medicine. All the songs are personal, but that one is personal in a way that is very tender to me.”
Here, too, “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” encapsulates important elements of the album’s larger theme — embracing flaws and being open to change. “If only you had known me before the accident,” it begins, “for with that grand collision came a grave consequence.” Says Gibbard: “There’s this charade you play with someone when you start seeing each other, that no one has ever made you feel this way before,” says Gibbard. “‘The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive’ is about when you say to the person you’re with, ‘Let’s just acknowledge that we are not the first people to feel this way. Let’s be honest with each other that we’ve been in love before or that we’ve fallen out of love with people before, and that’s OK.'”