Transatlanticism

Transatlanticism, Death Cab for Cutie's fourth album, presents a polished version of the heartstring-tugging formula that has earned the Washington state quartet its cultish following: melodic, melancholy songs about feeling both smart and confused, hopelessly romantic but wary of love.The eleven indie lullabies here — ostensibly about a long-distance relationship — are both tuneful and rough-edged, with singer Benjamin Gibbard's plaintive boy-next-door voice wafting delicately over crunchy guitars, piano and random percussion. The title track is an epic, fully formed tear-jerker, and more lighthearted fare such as "Expo '86" and the waltz-tempoed "Death of an Interior Decorator" get by on their childlike charm. Transatlanticism should be overwrought — it's an album about young men enduring lost love in an ocean of memory; instead, it feels like a conversation with an old friend.

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