After making it through the rough time that surrounded Death Cab for Cutie’s last record, Kintsugi – made after frontman Ben Gibbard’s divorce and just before the departure of founding member Chris Walla – the band sounds rejuvenated on Thank You for Today. They’ve added two new members, guitarist Dave Depper and keyboardist Zac Rae, to their lineup and they allowed themselves to take some risks like indulging pop production techniques on the record, which they made with Kintsugi producer Rich Costey.
Right from the start on lead track, “I Dreamt We Spoke Again,” they experiment with a light, trip-hoppy beat, chimes and ethereal sounds that fade in and out as Gibbard, whose voice is obscured throughout, sings about an imagined encounter with someone. A couple of songs later, on the single “Gold Rush,” they use a sample from Yoko Ono’s 1971 song “Mind Train” for a heavily textured song about seeing their hometown being gentrified beyond recognition. It sounds like a pop bid but it retains enough of the classic Death Cab experience – ruminations on loss and unrequited romance set to moody melodies – that it never sounds disingenuous.
|A1||I Dreamt We Spoke Again|
|A5||When We Drive|
|B3||You Moved Away|
|B5||60 & Punk|