On paper, it has the potential to be the indie Blood On The Tracks. Ben Gibbard is releasing his debut solo album in October and it will be intriguing to discover whether any of the songs cover the subject of his break-up with Zooey Deschanel.
The Death Cab For Cutie frontman split from Deschanel and the couple filed for divorce late in 2011, citing "irreconcilable differences". That was just a few months after the band released their Codes and Keys album, which featured Gibbard in loved-up mood. The song Stay Young Go Dancing was written for Deschanel, with its refrain "when she sings I hear a symphony".
Those hoping, somewhat voyeuristically, for some searing emotional torment in Gibbard’s new record, especially after hearing that it is called Former Lives, may be disappointed. The songs have been written over a period of about eight years and stockpiled while Gibbard was busy with Death Cab For Cutie albums and tours. The songs were finally recorded in Los Angeles earlier this year.
"It certainly wasn’t a reaction to any sort of dissatisfaction to recording with Death Cab or anything like that," he told Stereogum. "I’m a songwriter and that’s my job, and with every record that we’ve made there would always be a couple of tunes that just didn’t seem to fit in with the band.”
Gibbard contributed two songs to the Arthur soundtrack in 2010, and previously recorded the soundtrack to a film about Jack Kerouac, in a collaboration with country singer Jay Farrar.