By Erica Rakowicz
With the ever typical indie-rock background—a hatred for the corporate rock world and a yearning to break the mold—Death Cab for Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard had to have known he’d end up solo, divorced and full of inspiration at one point in his music career.
Beginning as a solo act, then singing for a number of different bands in his career, Pinwheel, All-Time Quarterback, The Postal Service and Death Cab For Cutie, Gibbard may have done a full circle. 
With the Oct. 16 release of his new solo album, “Former Lives”, he fully embraces creativity and ultimately forgets the definition to consistency. 
Reeking with whimsical heartache drenched in relatively up-tempo melodies, Gibbard certainly surprised fans, old and new, with this release.
His incredibly recognizable voice is still as enchanting as ever, making it easy to fall in love with the album at first listen, but a second listen only emphasizes the non-theme of his new work as a whole.
Many may attribute the scattered tracks to Gibbard’s recent divorce from Zooey Deschanel, possibly causing him to reflect on his brain state at this point in his life. 
In his own way, Gibbard put an end to the rumors, since many music journalists jumped to that awfully assuming conclusion.
“There are things on this record that are very close to me, but I think also, without going into detail, everybody knows the fallout from my personal life and I certainly did not give everybody a roadmap for that,” Gibbard said in an interview with CBCMusic.
Gibbard sings, “You’re nothing like the way you look, and all those famous songs and books,” in “Oh, Woe.”  He finishes the song by crooning, “It’s been a basement of a year, and all I want is for you to disappear.”
This delightful jab is Gibbard’s polite way of essentially saying, “go screw yourself and leave me alone.”
“Teardrop Windows” takes on a “Codes and Keys” (DCFC’s 2011 release) feel, while Broken Yolk in Western Sky introduces an out-of-character twang for Gibbard.
“Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke)” is a mariachi-inspired tune, really broadening the musical scale of the album as a whole. 
Gibbard covered quite a few bases in this release: southern twang, mariachi dance music, Death Cab For Cutie-inspired tracks, lonesome feelings, a short a capella snippet, lyrics about ladies and ladies named Lily and eerily beautiful songs.
“Former Lives” definitely won’t leave you sobbing in bed like DCFC’s 2005 release “Plans”.
Even though the spectrum of music in this release is confusing and maybe even worrisome to diehard Gibbard fans, the lyrics are pure and somehow simultaneously cryptic.
“Former Lives” is admirable stab for Gibbard as he regroups for his newest solo-gig.


Gibbard back to the drawing board on ‘Former Lives’