Gibbard’s “Former Lives” disappoints without Death Cab
Death Cab for Cutie’s lead singer Ben Gibbard has abandoned his former sound for his new solo debut album “Former Lives,” which hit shelves Tuesday. This album strings together what Gibbard calls his “orphan songs” in a unique collection of tracks to be adopted into any iTunes library that embraces and can appreciate the melancholy indie pop sound Gibbard possesses.
Lacking the quality his work with the band has
It appears Gibbard is missing something besides his fellow bandmates. Tracks from his new album such as “Dream Song” may actually put the listener to sleep with their melancholy rhythm and repetitive chord progressions. Coming from someone known for using lyrics to trash the inner psyche, his new album seems very detached and the lyrics rather neutral. For Death Cab fans that were willing to follow Gibbard into the dark, he leads them to the light with this sincere but mundane album.
Gibbard’s sound is the musical offspring of an Owl City and Jack's Mannequin mash-up. In “Duncan, Where Have You Gone?” the piano and cymbal collaboration is a well done, but rather unamusing way to introduce a good song. Even the vocal harmonies can’t spice up the repetitive lyrics.
Even if it's mundane, it’s still listenable
Despite this album’s rather redundant sound, this album wouldn’t and shouldn’t be classified as poor music. It has a rather pleasant sound, even if it is not memorable. The approach to this album differs vastly from the brokenhearted anthems Gibbard has been associated with in the past. In several interviews, including one done with CBS Local Los Angeles, Gibbard describes his album as a collection of remnants. For an album made up of misfit songs, it is rather polished and genuinely heartfelt.
For those of you that may not care for “Former Lives,” fear not. This is not a step toward separation. In a recent interview Ben stated that, though he is doing some solo touring, he is already working on songs for the next Death Cab for Cutie album, according to Stereogum.com.