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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is It
First of all you've got to get over the name. It's a terrible, terrible name. Every time I tell a friend that they have to buy the new album by Death Cab for Cutie their eyes glaze over and no amount of missionary-zeal at the glorious music of this album can ever win them back. But it's important to keep trying, because when this album gets you, it's for the long...
Published on 25 Mar 2004

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Great album but poor quality
The tracks are great, possibly their best album, but there is an annoying crackle through the left channel when the music picks up. Such a shame.
Published 6 months ago by Lewis Hull


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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is It, 25 Mar 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
First of all you've got to get over the name. It's a terrible, terrible name. Every time I tell a friend that they have to buy the new album by Death Cab for Cutie their eyes glaze over and no amount of missionary-zeal at the glorious music of this album can ever win them back. But it's important to keep trying, because when this album gets you, it's for the long term.
The first couple of times through, Transatlanticism pretends to be a pretty good indie rock album. The opener "The New Year" pushes all the right buttons and proper pop songs like Expo '86 and The Sound of Settling have you humming along. A few piano ballads lead the way to a full-on rocker in We Look Like Giants and the Elliot-Smith-a-like A Lack of Color closes the album on a strangely low key note. But then you listen again, and again, and you realise that there's much more to it than that.
I could go on about the beautiful melodies, the keen sense of unease, and wonderful lyrics of heartbreak, regret and warm melancholy all day frankly, but I'll keep this short and just say something about the title track.
Epic in scope, full of intelligence and central to the album's theme of love ended by distance it's a perfectly realised gem. Beginning from a simple piano refrain, Ben Gibbard starts singing oddly about how the Atlantic was created and how, though "most people were overjoyed," he "thought it less like a lake and more like a moat." More images of insurmountable distance are added before he lays his cards on the table "I need you so much closer" he repeats again and again. And then, after the music has built up towards it's peak, he lets go of all his studied articularcy and simply sings "So come on, come on" as if there's nothing more he can do. I'm telling you, it's a heartbreaker.
Simply put, every song has it's own moment of genius, every song has been lovingly constructed, every song will have you singing along, and then you'll think about the words you're singing and if you're anything like me you'll think "blimey, this is genius."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overused but accurate superlative: awesome!, 22 May 2008
By 
Duncan (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
Bought this soon after its release, on recommendation. Must have listened to it in the five years since more than any other album I own. Melody, pace, lyics, everything works perfectly. Still their best album IMHO.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where have you been all my life, 8 Jan 2006
By 
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
I hadnt really heard of Death Cab For Cutie ubtil a couple of months ago and thought they were good but was not sure if they were good enough for me to buy an album of theirs.
Then a couple of days ago i borught this ablum and have not stopped listening to it since then. It is one of those albums that is so mellow and fun to listen to. My favourite song if i had to pick one would be title and registration but be fair all of the songs are brillant. I think i might have to buy more albums of theirs at some point.
I would totally recomend if like people like snow patrol and elliott smith.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it time..., 20 May 2008
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
I was amazed that there hadn't been a review of this album yet, especially with Death Cab's relative popularity at the moment, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I bought this album after loving Plans, and upon the first few listens I just thought it was like the band said, "if Transatlanticism is the inhale, Plans is the exhale" - This album just seemed to me to be an inferior version of Plans just with some heavier guitar chucked in for good measure. As I gave the album more and more listens I realised that it had another dimension to it. There are songs on this album that just suddenly hit you with their greatness, 'We Looked Like Giants' a prime example.

Ben Gibbard's beautifully clear lyrics are in abundance here, and there are a number of heartwarming and heartbreaking songs on offer here - Tiny Vessels ("she was beautiful, but she didn't mean a thing to me"), the epic, narrowly optimistic title track - ("I need you so much closer now") and the excellent closer A Lack Of Color - ("And when I see you, I really see you upside down. But my brain knows better, it picks you up and turns you round")

I think that the truly good thing about this album is the way that it surprises you with each listen, you'll be settled into a song and it'll suddenly move in another direction. All in all, this is a catchy, tender, thoughtful, and epic piece of work from a fine band.

I can't comment on any of their early albums, but I'd also recommend Plans, another excellent album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Initially Beguiling, Ultimately Fulfilling, 30 Mar 2007
By 
Mr. P. A. Brown "tgghpg1" (Cheltenham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
Approaching an album like 'Transatlanticism' subjectively is difficult. Given the iconically cult nature, not only of the album, but also of the band themselves, it is impossible to approach this record without an exciting tingle of anticipation. Having grown to appreciate the bittersweet subtleties of their most recent album 'Plans', I was preparing for an experience that delivered such melancholic beauty, but in a more emotively powerful and ungoverned manner.

With such a high level of anticipation, it was almost inevitable that my first reaction would be one of vague disappointment. Their were occassional highlights such as the exlosive thundering of opening track 'New Year'. Indeed the opening lyrics were very promising as they declared "So this is the New Year/And I don't feel any different". This fitted in with my own personal belief about the falseness of New Year as a time of seemingly instant change. Similarly the florescent bubbling of 'Sound of Settling', and its irreverent chorus of "Bah bah/This is the sound of settling/Bah bah, bah bah" made a positive impression upon my mind. But the rest of the album just seemed to slide by. Very few tracks distinguished themselves and towards the end I began to fear that 'Transatlanticism's' reputation was merely an insubstantial smokescreen.

That was, however, until I reached the final track 'A Lack of Colour'. Anyone with a penchant for the lonesome combination of a soulful singer and his acoustic guitar cannot fail to be struck by the heartfelt simplicity of this song. While it gradually introduces dual vocals and a light bean-shaker beat, there is still the sense that frontman Ben Gibbard has complete seclusion. Indeed the occasional wave sound effects make it seem as if he is marooned on a desert island somewhere. The metaphorical nature of this presentation is obvious, both from the song's title, and its lyrics. Portraying a guy whoose life has become colourless without love, Gibbard realises that "All the girls in every girly magazine/Can't make me feel/Any less alone". Through lack of affection, Gibbard's loneliness is now irretrievable, as he admits "But I know it's too late/And I should have given you a reason to stay". The intelligent simplicity of such lyrical combinations are a joy to hear, and indeed mark Death Cab apart from so many other indie bands of their ilk.

Indeed it is this slow burning, lyrically driven, vulnerably emotive kind of track that reawakens one's realisation about the true musical nature of Death Cab for Cutie. As with previously mentioned tracks 'New Year' and 'Sound of Settling'(both released as singles) the band are perfectly capable of creating powerful, distinctive and catchy tracks. However their true quality lies in their more subtle and less imposing songs. After a short time tracks like 'Lightness', 'Tiny Vessels' and 'Passenger Seat' begin to reveal their full beauty, seeming to slide softly into one's consciousness. The latter does so through the use of soft piano touches accompanied with a barely perceptible, swirling sound effect and Gibbard's naturally innocent vocal style.

From this point on a waterfall effect occurs, as songs begin to tumble into one's mind, realising their full potential in the process. Tracks such as 'Expo 86' and 'We Looked Like Giants' now have a forceible impact seemingly missing on the inital listen through. The former is vaguely reminiscent of Jeff Buckley's 'So Real', with its quirky and chaotic translation from catchy melody to thumping chorus, and back again. In 'We Looked Like Giants' the rhythm section of newly employed drummer Jason McGerr and long-time bassist Nicholas Harmer really pulsates through. With rough drum patterns and a humming bass, this song finally delivers some of the rawness that I had initially anticipated. By this point it became difficult to find a track that I couldn't enthuse over, with every one displaying both lyrically and musically a talent which I had now become fully aware of.

There are many albums I have initally found disappointing. Some have had to hold my interest with one or two songs in order to let me develop a liking for them. In many cases this developement has occured, and the album has become important to me. Indeed I would suggest that this is quite a universal principle. The encounter of something new and different is often treated with caution. Given enough listens most albums will gradually become acceptable, if not fairly valuable to the majority of listeners. However, the manner in which 'Transatlanticism' drags itself from largely uninspiring to near perfection is nothing short of miraculous. Its cult reputation is thoroughly deserved and its transformation from the passable to the classic is a journey that every true music fan should take.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars death cab anymore?........., 31 Dec 2003
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
LO-FI indie rock is the path that dcfc originally walked down. they made some great albums, 'We have the facts and we're voting yes' being my favourite, but the 'Photo Album' also contained a number of truely inspiring tracks. 'A Movie Script Ending', '405' and 'Company Calls' being some of my favourites. Then they made Transatlanticism.
Do not get me wrong, this is a fantastic album; but i don't think it is what made me love them. Rock is a much greater part of their sound now, and it tends to be anthemic rock, rather than the highly intricate and delightful rock (or at least indie) that we've seen before in songs like 'company calls'.
DCFC do still have a great ear for melody, and it comes in pints on this album. I am particularly fond of track 2 'Lightness' that still has the hooks that old DCFC had yet is much darker in atmosphere that anything i have heard from them before. 'Passenger Seat', 'Expo 86' and 'Tiny Vessels' are also very much worth investigating. In fact it is difficult to find a single dud track on the album. It is in fact pretty perfect - except the song 'Title and registration' that comes immediately after 'Lightness' is such a change in atmosphere and tempo that it feels a tad misplaced but this is MAJOR QUIBBLING on my part.
Ben Gibbard still displays his nack for writing interesting and engaging lyrics. In fact I've just heard the song 'The Dream of Evan and Chan' which is a collaboration between Dntel and Ben Gibbard which beautifully demonstrates the delicate and wonderfully interesting lyrics that he is capable of writing.
I cannot recommend this album enough to a Death Cab noobie, but if you want a more challenging and rewarding listen, buy 'We Have The Facts....." or 'The Photo Album' instead.
================================================================
5 out of 5 - rocked up, but still beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transatlanticism, 18 Sep 2009
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
I bought `Transatlanticism' on the strength of the title track alone and was left amazed at how good the rest of the album was. Whilst the song `Transatlanticism' has a wonderful down beat, almost melancholy, feel to it, the whole album feels a lot more upbeat and positive and it is this aspect that gives the song `Transatlanticism' more impact juxtaposed next to other tracks on offer. This is one of those rare albums with great tracks the whole way through and the second half is as strong as the first. In fact one of may favourite tracks `We Looked Like Giants' comes just before the end. As others have noted, the lyrics are poetic and have great depth and sit perfectly amidst the top quality music writing on offer and the overall package sits very well together. I will be tracking down more of this bands albums in the near future and it's safe to say that after you hear this album you will be doing the very same thing. Superb song-writing and an excellent album, well worth considering.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transatlanticism, 10 Nov 2006
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
I can't give five stars as there are some weaker moments in this album, but overall it is a great and varied collection of songs. It was my first "Death Cab" purchase, and from the first chord of The New Year I was grinning from ear to ear (in the same way as when I first heard The Bends by Radiohead), it's such a great song.

From here on in it is a fairly eclectic journey as the band are neither musically or lyrically cliched in any way and are by no means just another "emo" band.

By the time you reach Tiny Vessels, you had better have a spare twenty minutes uninterrupted as you won't want to be disturbed through the last group of songs, it segues beautifully into the title song with it's impassioned vocal, then into Passenger Seat which will transport you back to the days of childhood and riding in a car feeling small down in the passenger seat and watching the world go by...

Death of an Interior Decorator is a wry look at marital breakdown and is followed by the mighty We Looked like Giants and the melancholic a Lack of Colour.

I heartily recommend this album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better with every listen., 8 Aug 2011
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
The first few times, Transatlanticism comes across as a good album, with the catchy melodies of The Sound of Settling and Expo '86 sticking in the listener's mind and making them want to return for more. However, there is so much more to this wonderful album than that. On each listen, a clever guitar riff in the background, an excellent drum section at the end of a verse, or a new meaning for the witty, ambiguous lyrics reveals itsself to the reader. I couldn't possibly count the number of times I have listened to this album, and it never gets old. For me, the main appeal is the lyrics - each song is a story, and when listening to them, they become the listener's story too.
Each element of this album - the rich and textured melodies; the sometimes obscure, sometimes blunt lyrics; the endearingly awkward vocals - comingles perfectly to make this one of my favourite LPs of all time. I would recommend you to buy it, listen carefully, and let it grow on you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There best work still.., 13 Jun 2008
By 
D. Longden (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Transatlanticism (Audio CD)
I'm also surprised by the lack of reviews for this remarkable album so thought I have to had my own. The song that got me really 'into' them was The New Year and after hearing I brought the album on here and loved straight away, that track and Expo '86 being the real stand outs at first. Then the all album opened up for me and every song was a classic. Lightness is a ear pleasing and joy of a song, with great vocals and 'oh wha-ho's' aplenty. I skip forward to The Sound Of Settling being the most uplifting song on the album 'Old age is just around the bend and I can't wait to go gray'. The title track echoes and wallows with Ben saying 'I need you so much closer' then passenger seat will bring back down to earth with it's light piano sound. We looked giants is a other loud song with a nice ending of guitars. The final song A lack of color is there most famous song and can also be heard on The O.C (thanks to that show that made me listen to the new year) ends the album fantastically and leaves a nice feeling inside even though the song is quite sad about a break up of all things. Have to say theres a very natural transition from track to track on this album unlike Plan. , This still ranks my favorite of all the albums second being The photo album which I also love. If your a Death Cab fan chances are you already own this and if not then your mad! And new fans should by this 1st rather then Plans or the new album.
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