It was process that nearly took a decade, but in October, Ben Gibbard’s first solo effort will be “fully realized.” According to a press release, the Death Cab for Cutie frontman’s “Former Lives” will drop on Oct. 16 via indie Barsuk.
“The 12 tracks were written over the course of eight years,” but the compositions apparently didn’t hit their stride until Gibbard moved from Seattle to Los Angeles, which he did about halfway through 2008.
The release didn’t describe precisely what inspiration the move made on the recordings, which were crafted at Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza’s studio. However, Gibbard may have a lot of history to rehash on this set.
First, it’s curious that the set will drop via Barsuk, the earliest home for DCFC’s output. The rock band has been on Atlantic since 2004, and the major saw an increasing success with each release, particularly from Death Cab’s last two albums “Narrow Stairs” (2008) and last year’s “Codes and Keys.” Gibbard’s collaboration with DNTEL in The Postal Service was also a surprising hit, and that album “Give Up” was through Sub Pop.
Gibbard also had a very public romance and subsequent divorce from actress/singer Zooey Deschanel, who one could argue was the muse behind “Codes and Keys,” their sunniest set yet.
The songwriter also teamed with Son Volt’s Jay Farrar for the soundtrack to “One Fast Move or I’m Gone,” a documentary that told the story of Jack Kerouac’s “Big Sur.” The 2009 project was a personal one for Gibbard, who penned the tracks with the energy he culled from the novel.
What this makes me think is that we can expect a low-key and personal affair out of “Former Lives,” a title that has a major whiff of nostalgia and some melancholy. Do you hope this is Gibbard’s break-up album? Does it signal a departure from the DCFC band format?
Gibbard will be touring behind the effort for a limited number of dates, TBA.