Death Cab For Cutie - Kintsugi
Critic Score
Based on 32 reviews
2015 Ratings: #798 / 998
User Score
Based on 189 ratings
2015 Ratings: #450
Liked by 7 people
March 31, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Atlantic / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
Rich Costey / Producer
Sign In to rate and review


The Line of Best Fit

The consistently diffuse Kintsugi feels as if the emphasis is on songcraft, with the band striving to see Walla off simply with the strongest possible collection of tracks.

A.V. Club

Kintsugi is very much a companion piece to Codes And Keys, but where that album sounded like a group at ease with some emotional distance, the new record brings back the heartache and longing in a big way. 


Finally free of their pinning as the indie kid’s go-to mixtape tearjerker, Death Cab have blossomed into a thoughtful, stadium-destined rock band for the ages. 

Drowned in Sound

Kintsugi is a finely-made tearjerker of a record ... featuring some crisp and well-structured songwriting that launches torrents of emotive air strikes to summon an appropriate degree of solemnity.

The 405

While many of the tracks fall flat, the vestiges of their prior form--confession and melody and, ultimately, charm--will likely still be evident enough to keep fans enamored.


Although there are fragile solo numbers dotted throughout the album, most of Kintsugi shimmers upon a gloss constructed out of new wave remnants and faded memories of yacht rock. 


Maybe Kintsugi isn’t a perfect effort. But like the ceramic art itself, Death Cab’s attempt at repatching was thoughtful, deliberate and, at times, really beautiful.

Rolling Stone

Death Cab have coped with their losses collectively, and emerged with a heart-wrenchingly honest record.


The album has an almost palpable air of melancholia about it, and though at times it threatens to derail the fun in even the most upbeat tracks, the added drama also lends the proceedings an urgency that helps elevate the album as a whole.


It is striking ... how Ben Gibbard keeps the tone so measured, how the searing heartbreak that bubbles underneath never quite burns through; caustic and corrosive, but potentially so thrilling.

No Ripcord

It’s almost as if Kintsugi was written with the sole purpose of, well, writing another record, a contractual obligation coming from an outfit that loves what they do, and are good at it, but can’t quite figure out how to resonate on an emotional level as they continue to outgrow their fanbase.

The Skinny

Kintsugi is, for the most part, exactly what you’d expect from a band at Death Cab’s career juncture.


Despite being a breakup album, Kintsugi isn’t a downer. It’s a dreamy, even optimistic, ride from song to song, but there’s not much that truly takes hold.

The Guardian

It doesn’t always work: sometimes it’s too overwrought and wanders into cliched territory.


Unlike Death Cab’s finest work, Gibbard’s melancholia does not offer enough verve to lift Kintsugi out of the sonic doldrums.


Kintsugi is a record more content to lob up softballs than it is to go in for the kill.

Slant Magazine

Kintsugi is a bit of course correction, with Walla's departure and Gibbard's recent divorce from Zooey Deschanel perhaps inspiring a return to the traits that first earned Death Cab success: earnest affection and a wistfulness for what could've been. 

Pretty Much Amazing

It is seamless, unadulterated, pained, strained Death Cab, just like we’re used to. It’s no better or worse than anything dating back to Transatlanticism.


As with Codes & Keys, Gibbard promises reinvention and continues to play against his strengths without developing new ones.

Under The Radar

As a whole, Kintsugi lacks the variety and inspiration typical to Death Cab, but it is by no means devoid of memorable tracks.  

Consequence of Sound

Gibbard never swings hard enough to strike out completely, with occasionally unfortunate production balanced by warm melodies, one of Gibbard’s greatest strengths as a musician.


This isn’t “indie rock” anymore, nor is it “dad rock”, as some notable naysayers may want to peg it. No, this is “obligation rock”: a forced brand of music that exists just because it has to.


Codes & Keys but better. While on the surface many fans may be turned off by its mellow presentation and pristine production but the writing and arrangements on this album make for a much more consistent listen than its predecessor. This has some great emotional moments on here.


Updating some scores and WOW I've been harsh on this album.


No Room in Frame - 9/10
Black Sun - 10/10
The Ghosts of Beverly Drive - 8/10
Little Wanderer - 8/10
You've Haunted Me All My Life - 10/10
Hold No Guns - 7/10
Everything's a Ceiling - 7/10
Good Help (Is So Hard to Find) - 7/10
El Dorado - 7/10
Ingénue - 6/10
Binary Sea - 9/10

Overall Rating: 88 out of 110 = 80%

Overall Opinion: Beautiful A side. The B side is harder to love. The songs get more electronic and less melodic.


Favourite: N/A


This album is a lot better than y’all say it is.


Codes and Keys saw Death Cab for Cutie wanting to mark a new era in their career, cutting out the pessimism and unhealthy habits of albums like Narrow Stairs and bringing on an optimistic outlook. By all accounts a well-meaning step forward, sadly kneecapped by Ben getting divorced by his now ex-wife Zooey Deschanel* and, more importantly, the album itself consisting of some of their weakest material to date. But Death Cab would keep on Death Cabbin', and the quartet would march back into the ... read more

Purchasing Kintsugi from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.
Sign in to comment
No one has said anything yet.

Added on: January 12, 2015