BY THE TIME 2003 rolled into our living rooms, Death Cab for Cutie was preparing to release it's fourth studio album. "Transatlanticism" would eventually reveal the band's depth and storytelling. This was new, and it was exciting.
Frontman Ben Gibbard formed Death Cab in 1997. Joining him in Bellingham, Wash., was Chris Walla, Nick Harmer and Nathan Good. After three moderately successful albums together, the band went on hiatus while Gibbard and Walla pursued different projects. But the success of their early work left studios and fans wanting more.
In late 2002 the band re-united (with drummer Jason McGerr replacing Good) to work on "Transatlanticism." Looking to expand their sonic boundaries, the concept album tackles long-distance relationships, and the introspective, melancholy voice of Gibbard really took flight.
"Unlike 'The Photo Album' I feel like this record is definitely more like a proper album. We’ve tried to construct it with transitions of songs going in and out of each other, and I think it's a little bit more expansive than the last record," Gibbard told reporters at the time.
Guitarist Walla put on his producer's hat for this album, and struck a lush, nuanced tone that begs for a pre-amp and quality headphones to really ingest its brilliance.
Later that decade, Rolling Stone magazine would name "Transatlanticism" the 57th best album of the past 10 years.
As a concept album, all of them. Start to finish.
🛢🛢🛢🛢/5. Available everywhere since Oct. 7, 2003.