New Kids on the Block
Death Cab for Cutie
Thank You for Today
This is the Seattle indie rockers’ first record without founding member Chris Walla; honing in on the sound that they create best, the band have taken a selective approach to their ninth studio album, Thank You for Today. The album couples the familiarity of their pensive guitars and Ben Gibbard’s evocative lyrics with sonic flourishes that add atmosphere. “Your Hurricane” is a carefully crafted lament, grounded by Nick Harmer’s bass playing and Jason McGerr’s precise drumming, while Gibbard asserts that he “won’t be the debris in your hurricane.” There is a real propulsion behind songs on this album, such as “Northern Lights,” which is at once melancholic and tightly wound, featuring insistent rhythms and layered melodies. Gentrification, changing geography and friends leaving are themes on Thank You for Today, but they’re situated within lyrics that grapple with honest emotions and scenarios in a way that allows them to blend.
Album opener “I Dreamt We Spoke Again” and lead single “Gold Rush” show a band with deepening confidence — the group’s sonic experiments reveal the necessity of their two newer members, Dave Depper
their behemoth of a followup, which amplified the ambition of its predecessor tenfold, the once San Franciscobased band have been force-feeding new norms down the throat of a genre skilled at resisting change.
Ordinary Corrupt Human Love fully sheds the responsibility of levelling with purists. Produced by Jack Shirley (Jeff Rosenstock), the album plants its feet firmly in the territory of expansive rock odyssey. Dealing with euphoria and dissolution, pain and devotion, Deafheaven do not treat these themes as mutually exclusive, but tangle them with complementary sonic environments that span ample musical and cultural landscapes.
On album opener “You Without End,” screamer George Clarke situates his guttural snarl as the backing chorus to theatrical, climactic keys that mimic the gesticulating celebra- and Zac Rae. Ultimately, Thank You for Today finds DCfC choosing to forge ahead by using the foundation of their back catalogue to harness their core identity and build upon it. (Atlantic)
How did the new lineup change your approach?
Bassist Nick Harmer: There wasn’t much change to how the songs [are] born and come into the band. The big difference was just [Zac and Dave’s] level of excitement and enthusiasm for coming up with ideas, suggesting textures and countermelodies to really supplement and bolster the demo work that Ben had done. To feel that kind of “all for one, one for all” in the studio was really exciting.
How did this record’s themes develop?
Ben never sits down with a thesis, or “I’m gonna write a concept record around a topic.” He writes from his heart and then as a band, as we’ve sifted through and picked our favourites, then it’s when we can see why these songs are starting to seem related and feel like an album’s worth of material. We didn’t set out to make a record about change, I think there’s just a lot of change that’s happening around us — even just with time and age.
tion of “Life on Mars” or “Bohemian Rhapsody”; the haunting undertone of metallic darkwave on “Night People” (which features Chelsea Wolfe and producer Ben Chisholm) could be a Chromatics outtake; and “Glint” flirts with star-spangled stadium rock. At its core, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love revels in the band’s ability to deliver speed guitar and blast beats designed to asphyxiate, either as the foundation of a song like “Canary Yellow,” or sandwiched between impossibly catchy golden-toned power pop and celestial post-rock on “Honeycomb.” The fact that the album kinda sounds like so many things, very few of them usually adjacent to the genre, sits at the crux of the album’s aspiration. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is a critical reminder to card-carrying loyalists and new inductees alike of their own agency; that it’s potentially revelatory, not sacrilegious, for the spectrum of black metal to include things outside of its purview. (Anti)