DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, THE POSTAL SERVICE and ¡ALL-TIME QUARTERBACK!. These are the three bands the indie-world thinks about as soon as the name BEN GIBBARD pops up. And on October 16th there will be a fourth one. The singer will release his debut LP as a solo artist, named Former Lives, published via City Slang.
Over the years, BENJAMIN GIBBARD – he does not use the nickname Ben for his solo work – collected twelve songs which do not really fit in a typical DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE record. But the indie-pioneer wanted to “give them a home”. And voilà, Former Lives arose! You can totally understand why the dozen tracks are not on a DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE LP. There is the opening a cappella piece Shepherd’s Bush Lullaby in which GIBBARD is walking through the rain in London and sending a good-night-compliment to his far away love. Luckily he has an umbrella. The song unsheathes the singers unrivalled voice and his appreciation for melodic pieces. Teardrop Windows is an ode to the “Smith Tower” in Seattle, which was displaced by the famous tower “Space Needle”. GIBBARD wanted to show that people tend to forget the beautiful things they already got, when something new and great comes into their lives. A characterful idea. Appreciable is also Bigger Than Love, a pearly duet with the singer/songwriter AIMEE MAN which is about love letters written by Ella and Scott Fitzgerald. You can also find a ballad on Former Lives, namely Duncan Where Have You Gone? which features intense piano melodies. Very atypical for a DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – but perfect for the US musicians solo record – is Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke) – a kittenish song including mariachi tunes (mariachi is a part of Mexican folk music) and some salsa beats. But the cheerfulness cannot get a raw deal!
[one_half last=”no”][/one_half]And for this reason you can find the fast song A Hard One To Know on Former Lives. Broken Yolk in Western Sky is a lyrically one – a few lines – “Broken yolk in western sky. My stomach turned, my mouth went dry”. After listening to Former Lives You comprehend that GIBBARD is totally right with his statement: “The songs themselves are not all of a particular mode — they’re not all about one subject — and they’re not from one definitive era of my life. They don’t exist in the time between record five and record six. So I think in that sense, I think as we were recording all these tunes, number one, we didn’t necessarily know we were making a record, and two, I think that to put the record together and sequence it and everything else, I had recognized that all of these tunes are very different from each other and it’s only my voice and songwriting that ties them all together”. But this is no bad thing – the different songs make the album pretty interesting and diversified! To this effect – Thank you, BENJAMIN, for no longer hiding these great songs.
indie / rock
from Los Angeles, USA