Album Review Death Cab For Cutie - Asphalt Meadows

A record that finds its voice in emerging into musical freedoms found in separation.

Death Cab For Cutie - Asphalt Meadows

It’s been almost a full two years since Death Cab For Cutie vocalist and founder Ben Gibbard led the charge in lockdown livestream performances, offering weekly insights into his forced isolation. And we’ve come a long way since; watching the world’s biggest artists in their homes on a tiny screen is all but a distant memory. Yet although ‘Asphalt Meadows’ pushes past those dark days with nods to hope and love - “I’ll never give up on you” the closing moments affirm - the outfit’s tenth studio album is clearly a product of recent times. Having bounced tracks between home studios, each member adding their own stamp, it’s Death Cab’s most eclectic sound to date. ‘I Don’t Know How I Survive’ pairs Ben’s era-defining vocals with a wall of distorted guitars, while ‘Foxglove Through The Clearcut’ lives on spoken word. Each track showcases a different facet of the member’s wide-ranging ability, pulled together by an affinity only a band in their third decade could manage. It allows for the likes of the Metric-esque ‘I Miss Strangers’ to flow into the understated ‘What Like Waves’, and the gentle rise of the final track to exist in the same space as the electronic experimentation on ‘Roman Candles’. ‘Asphalt Meadows’ may not be a lockdown record, but it’s one that finds its voice in emerging into musical freedoms found in separation.

 

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