The recently single Death Cab for Cutie frontman (he split from wife Zooey Deschanel last year) sheds his band to work out some ideas that’ve been rattling around in his head for years. That makes for a sometimes disjointed album, encompassing everything from Western twang to mariachi horns to Aimee Mann duets, but Gibbard has put his stamp on it all. His earnest songwriting — ”a bird with a broken wing,” ”the five-alarm fire that rages inside my heart,” etc. — still skews saccharine, but more often than not, Former Lives is lovely. B+
'LIVES' GO ON Gibbard's heartbreak doesn't take center stage, but his solo album is nevertheless lovely to the bone (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Genre: Indie Rock; Lead Performer: Benjamin Gibbard; Status: In Season; Music Label: Barsuk
Posted October 19 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT
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