Death Cab for Cutie
O2 Academy, Glasgow
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In their live shows, as on their latest album, Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard opens with the same line: “I don’t know where to begin”.
Picking a setlist can’t be an easy ask when you’ve spent 18 years writing for the same demographic, but it must be worth it to watch different parts of the room light up at different song choices. It’s easy to imagine You’ve Haunted Me All My Life - the sombre, beautiful mid-point of current album Kintsugi - inappropriately soundtracking as many weddings as I Will Follow You Into the Dark did before it, given the reception it received from a long-starved Glasgow crowd.
On their official recordings, Death Cab increasingly sound less like an indie rock band and more like the static between radio stations - a motif they played around with as they took to the stage - but No Room In Frame burst into life like it never did on Kintsugi and by their second track, 2006 single Crooked Teeth, the band had hit a life-affirming stride.
The recalibrated line-up, following the departure of founder member and producer Chris Walla earlier this year, was slickly confident in all the band’s signature sonic flourishes: the hanging pause in Why You’d Want to Live Here; the unmistakeable instrumental judder that opens The New Year; the see-saw riff that makes Title and Registration such an uncomfortable portrait of a dying relationship.
Those same tricks punctuated the new material, with a heartbeat-like Nick Harmer bass line on Ghost of Beverley Drive a particular highlight. The likes of Little Wanderer sounded a little dreary, but not enough not to mean the world to someone in the crowd.