Former Lives

25 October 2012 Music

Former Lives

Benjamin Gibbard

After 15 years fronting Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Gibbard has decided the time is right for a solo offering; that is, to find a home for a handful of tunes he’s penned over the years that were deemed not quite right for Death Cab. Former Lives is a clutch of disparate tunes running the gamut from robust, folky numbers to slow-burning soundscapes and horn-laden mariachi jaunts. It’s a real hodgepodge of ideas seemingly thrown together, but as a whole it makes for a smart, cohesive little unit. Beginning with the pithy a cappella ‘Shepherd’s Bush Lullaby’, Former Lives is bound together by the strength and honesty of Gibbard’s songwriting, a thread that gives cohesion to its seeming randomness and makes this album something special, as opposed to merely the frontman of a famous band indulging himself. This record represents the close of a long chapter of Gibbard’s life, but at the same time it might just signal the beginning of another.