Release Date: Jan 29, 2008
Record label: Barsuk
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
After years of yielding the spotlight to fellow Death Cabber Ben Gibbard, Chris Walla finally moves to center stage with Field Manual. Fans of Death Cab's Transatlanticism (particularly the album's second half, with its emphasis on ballads and slow-motion moodiness) will be pleased with this solo effort, since Field Manual delivers the same brand of reflective, mid-tempo indie pop. Even the faster songs seem to rarely break a sweat (with the exception of standout track "The Score"), and their quickened pace takes a backseat role to Walla's gauzy vocals and politically minded lyrics.
It’s baffling why guitarist/producer Chris Walla would drop his long-laboured solo record only months before his band Death Cab for Cutie unleash their highly drooled-over follow-up to Plans. He’s either capitalizing on the hunger of Death fans or hoping this gets buried under the impending emo avalanche the new album is sure to bring. Either way, Field Manual doesn’t portend any new Cab directions.
Review Summary: This is indie pop.I covered a band a few months ago called Via Audio. From Berklee College of Music, the indie pop outfit received some lofty acclaim that in many ways is akin to the Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama. Chris Walla, guitarist and producer of indie pop darlings Death Cab for Cutie, called them his “new favorite band.” It is easy to see why.