Death Cab for Cutie’s new album gives flavor to their waning career


Cover Art via Atlantic Records

Asphalt Meadows, the 10th studio album from Death Cab for Cutie, was released in September 2022.

Sam Tobiczyk, News Editor

Asphalt Meadows, the 10th studio album from indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, proves that the group can still make solid music, even 24 years after their debut.

After two albums that seemed to signify the winding down of their career, with 2015’s Kintsugi and 2018s Thank You for Today, Death Cab is back with a solid album that drips a few more drops into their IV.

While Asphalt Meadows isn’t a spectacular album by any means, the band gives much more flavor and punch to their songs, which on previous releases often felt overly bland.

“Here to Forever” joins the band’s discography as a member of the upper echelon of tracks. The song gets the poignancy of the band correct, which seemed lacking on the previous few LPs. The track switches between slightly downbeat verses into a brief, louder chorus that evokes shades of their golden age from the early 2000s.

The title track is another that gets the group’s style at its best. The song has a very rhythmic chorus, with that slight touch of melancholy, and those faintly idiosyncratic, anecdotal lyrics. The chorus also has the same almost hypnotic tempo that the best Death Cab songs contain.

“Roman Candles” is another solid addition to the album, but this time because of its difference from the band’s usual style. The song is relatively short, embracing a driving guitar line that builds up to a finale with explosive percussion.

Another stylistic detour on the album, “Foxglove Through The Chestnut,” doesn’t work as well. The track is five minutes of relatively low-energy instrumentation with a spoken word story over it. The song goes on incessantly, with only slight breaks for a sung chorus that does little to save the track.

The song does build to a somewhat sonically interesting conclusion, but the ending isn’t worth sitting through five minutes of nothing.

Additionally, past the fifth or sixth track, the album seems to trail off in quality. The songs past this point seem to be reverting back to the blandness of the recent Death Cab releases. It makes the 42-minute record seem longer than it is.

Overall, though, Asphalt Meadows is a solid return to form for Death Cab for Cutie, a return that they needed to keep their weakening career going.