Luke James
Luke James

CLUNK Magazines chief album review guy and a lover of cats!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Label: Atlantic Records

Starting life as a solo project, Death Cab For Cutie soon gained momentum at an incredible pace and, over the years, became increasingly iconic. 25 years since its inception, Death Cab For Cutie make a fantastic return after a few years away, with their tenth studio album ‘Asphalt Meadows’. With it comes the familiar blend of indie and emo with Ben Gibbard’s gorgeous vocals somehow both soaring over the music while also acting as an instrument itself, helping to create each musical landscape.

‘I Don’t Know How To Survive’ appears to start proceedings in a reserved way but as the rest of the band explode in with a pounding rhythm only to disappear shortly after, leaving nothing but a simple electronic beat and minimal guitar work in its wake, it’s evident that this is going to be a carefully crafted album.

The title track has a very mature indie sound about it with a cinematic feel that compliments Gibbard’s instantly recognisable tone. ‘Rand McNally’ is a delicate song that laces its way through your heart with twinkling guitar, interesting drum work and layers of atmosphere swirling around like smoke. ‘Here To Forever’ is more driving and yet still doesn’t feel overwhelming with simple guitar work restraining the song in a way that serves it rather than hinders it.

By now, Death Cab For Cutie have found their own corner of the musical universe and craft songs that are so distinctly them in a way that never gets boring but rather gets you excited for the start of the next track. ‘Asphalt Meadows’ is a beautiful album with Gibbard’s vocals always the star of the show, the band complimenting him beautifully with a style of playing that somehow feels unfussed yet intricate. ‘Asphalt Meadows’ is a perfect example of why Death Cab For Cutie are a band of cult status.