Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism (2003)


Death Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticism; 2003
Barsuk Records
My Rating: 85/100
I’m a pretty late comer to the DCFC-wagon, and I’m far more familiar with their later work than early. However, I’m conversant enough with the band’s first three full-lengths to recognize that TRANSATLANTICISM is pivotal. Achieving the sort of sonic magic that warrants classic status, the band combines the rain-soaked majesty of Seattle forebears like Sunny Day Real Estate and the overcast atmospherism of The Cure to create a masterpiece. Seriously, no record has achieved such lovely and resplendent mope-aggression since Sunny Day’s own DIARY nine years prior. There are a handful of absolute classics, such as “Title and Registration”, “The Sound of Settling”, even the glacial “Transatlanticism,” while several other tracks come close to achieving classic status (“The New Year”, “We Looked Like Giants”). Yet the overarching thematic structure, the sense that the record is a seamless work of art, sets TRANSATLANTICISM above the fray of second and third generation emo-albums. The only fault I can find is that some of the tracks can arrive at their ends feeling unfinished, such as the otherwise fantastic “The New Year.” Overall, though, Death Cab proves with TRANSATLANTICISM that they are entirely capable of transcending their emo roots in much the same way that Radiohead left Brit Rock in its wake or Wilco big adieu to Alt Country. Like any great album, TRANSATLANTICISM pulls you into its world. It’s a beautiful waking dream and a fantastic listen.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Tracks:
1. The New Year (4.5/5)
2. Lightness (4.5/5)
3. Title and Registration (5/5)
4. Expo ’86 (4.5/5)
5. The Sound of Settling (5/5)
6. Tiny Vessels (4/5)
7. Transatlanticism (5/5)
8. Passenger Seat (4/5)
9. Death of an Interior Decorator (4/5)
10. We Looked Like Giants (4.5/5)
11. A Lack of Color (4/5)
My Top 5 Moments:
5. all of “The Sound of Settling”
4. the lyrical passage beginning “Well everybody put your best suit or dress on” in “The New Year”
3. the angulo-elliptical acoustic guitar riff that creates “Title and Registration”
2. the DISINTEGRATION-esque atmospherics
1. the climactic “Come on!!!” chorus of “Transatlanticism”

TransatlanticismDeath Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticism; 2003
Barsuk Records

My Rating: 85/100

I’m a pretty late comer to the DCFC-wagon, and I’m far more familiar with their later work than early. However, I’m conversant enough with the band’s first three full-lengths to recognize that TRANSATLANTICISM is pivotal. Achieving the sort of sonic magic that warrants classic status, the band combines the rain-soaked majesty of Seattle forebears like Sunny Day Real Estate and the overcast atmospherism of The Cure to create a masterpiece. Seriously, no record has achieved such lovely and resplendent mope-aggression since Sunny Day’s own DIARY nine years prior. There are a handful of absolute classics, such as “Title and Registration”, “The Sound of Settling”, even the glacial “Transatlanticism,” while several other tracks come close to achieving classic status (“The New Year”, “We Looked Like Giants”). Yet the overarching thematic structure, the sense that the record is a seamless work of art, sets TRANSATLANTICISM above the fray of second and third generation emo-albums. The only fault I can find is that some of the tracks can arrive at their ends feeling unfinished, such as the otherwise fantastic “The New Year.” Overall, though, Death Cab proves with TRANSATLANTICISM that they are entirely capable of transcending their emo roots in much the same way that Radiohead left Brit Rock in its wake or Wilco big adieu to Alt Country. Like any great album, TRANSATLANTICISM pulls you into its world. It’s a beautiful waking dream and a fantastic listen.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)

Tracks:

1. The New Year (4.5/5)
2. Lightness (4.5/5)
3. Title and Registration (5/5)
4. Expo ’86 (4.5/5)
5. The Sound of Settling (5/5)
6. Tiny Vessels (4/5)
7. Transatlanticism (5/5)
8. Passenger Seat (4/5)
9. Death of an Interior Decorator (4/5)
10. We Looked Like Giants (4.5/5)
11. A Lack of Color (4/5)

My Top 5 Moments:

5. all of “The Sound of Settling”
4. the lyrical passage beginning “Well everybody put your best suit or dress on” in “The New Year”
3. the angulo-elliptical acoustic guitar riff that creates “Title and Registration”
2. the DISINTEGRATION-esque atmospherics
1. the climactic “Come on!!!” chorus of “Transatlanticism”

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2 Responses to Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism (2003)

  1. Pingback: Quick Review (LP): We Have The Fact And We’re Voting Yes by Death Cab For Cutie « Sweet Georgia Breezes

  2. Pingback: LP Review: Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie « Sweet Georgia Breezes

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