‘Former Lives’ is the first full-length solo-album by Death Cab for Cutie’s front-man Benjamin Gibbard. The past few years have seen Gibbard doing a number of solo-recordings and some collaborations with other artists (including his masterpiece work ‘The Postal Service’ with Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello). ‘Former Lives’ is Gibbard’s chance to now express himself fully to his own design, which is an interesting move, considering how well he’s been able to express himself with Death Cab for Cutie’s studio albums.
The album has a quite a jolly atmosphere to it. Most of the songs are tinged with a sort of enjoyment and happiness, making for a highly enjoyable listening experience. It is a rather relaxing album, just oozing out feelings of happiness and such. It certainly makes a difference to some of Death Cab for Cutie’s albums, which tend to drift in-between jolly songs and darker songs, (though this effect was much less so on their last album ‘Codes & Keys’). It makes the whole album a highly enjoyable album to listen too.
What makes the album interesting is that due to Ben’s distinctive writing style, and singing style, that it makes the album almost sound like a lost Death Cab album. It sort of sounds like their much earlier work, from around ‘These Are The Facts And We’re Voting Yes’ or ‘The Photo Album’. It’s a welcome sound, as it was during their early era that Death Cab had my favourite songs. Thus I feel a sort of joy for this album, for sounding so much like their earlier work that was so highly enjoyable. There are many enjoyable songs on the album, all of which have gentle feelings to them. Each song compliments the next in terms of it’s pacing, sound and the emotions it gives off.
For his first full-solo effort, Benjamin Gibbard has done himself justice. No album is perfect, and this is certainly no exception, but it is a wonderful solo album. Perhaps it sounds a little too much like Death Cab for Cutie, but it is irrelevant, considering how much Gibbard makes up that band. The album is just Gibbard’s own effort, and it doesn’t require the effort of rest of Death Cab. It is a good solo effort, and it puts me in anticipation of anything to come from Ben Gibbard, both in terms of his solo work, and his work in Death Cab.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Dream Song
- Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke)
- Duncan, Where Have You Gone?
- I’m Building A Fire