The Photo Album

  • Record Label: Barsuk
  • Release Date: Oct 9, 2001
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. The band has revealed a seething, visceral, rocking side of their music.... a shimmering Album Of The Year contender.
  2. If it's true that music of this nature doesn't get anymore heartfelt, it also rarely gets more infectious.
  3. As intelligent, bittersweet, angular stuff, whether it’s alt.rock, guitar-pop, or even emo is immaterial. Labels be damned - just call it great music.
  4. Magnet
    80
    Everywhere you turn on Photo Album, [Ben] Gibbard is in transit, singing songs of traveling across America while his bandmates slowly perfect the post-punk melodies that snake their way through these crooked pop songs. It's a great pairing. [#52, p.82]
  5. Alternative Press
    80
    It's the skillful meshing of Benjamin Gibbard's part-stream-of-consciousness, part-confessional vocals with melancholy piano and achingly melodic guitars that reveal a fleshed-out Cutie are indeed a band of uncommon beauty. [Dec 2001, p.79]
  6. While not every song is a gem, the ones that are have pushed the band's already high standard of compelling indie pop one notch higher.
  7. Mojo
    80
    Death Cab weave together smartly taut guitars with vivid observational lyrics to create perfectly crafted pop songs, stunning in their simplicity and beauty. [Apr 2002, p.96]
  8. Overall, it reads like a look through some stranger's photo album-- there are a lot incredible images contained within it, but there are also a few embarrassing shots and the occasional moment in time that isn't framed quite right.
  9. The Photo Album is evidence of a band that's maturing, slowing down and trying new things.
  10. The Photo Album should help expand Death Cab for Cutie's already burgeoning fanbase, but it isn't the record that will put them on the cover of independent rock magazines.
  11. The most noteworthy aspect of The Photo Album is the band’s upward trajectory. The music is cohesive and even, though still somewhat sluggish.
  12. Spin
    70
    Ten tracks of heart-baring guitar-doodles by and for people who'd rather talk about feelings than have them. [Nov 2001, p.138]
  13. It's a rare talent that can express such emotions so concisely; even more rare is the ability to deliver them in a near-whisper rather than a scream.
  14. Q Magazine
    60
    Full of beautiful pop songs, The Photo Album is just that--a collection of vignettes. [Mar 2002, p.118]
  15. The Photo Album does not quite meet the standard set by 2000's stellar We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes on a song-for-song level, but it's still a moving and intelligent collection of wistful pop.
  16. Its 38-minute run time is often marked by pleasant but static, middle-of-the-road material.
  17. The admittedly catchy, three-chord pop structure isn't as effective as in previous DCFC releases--as a basic approach, it seems more thoughtless than deliberately anaesthetizing this time.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Jul 7, 2013
    10
    "We Have the Facts" is their best work, but this is definitely a close second. It starts out simply, with "Steadier Footing", one of the best"We Have the Facts" is their best work, but this is definitely a close second. It starts out simply, with "Steadier Footing", one of the best opening tracks after "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" and "3rd Planet". Moving on to the middle, a lot of the songs sound the same, yet you can still tell them apart. The end gets a little flat, but "Blacking Out the Friction" is underrated. "Coney Island" would have made a better closing track than "Debate Exposes Doubt", however. Full Review »
  2. Mar 22, 2013
    7
    This record was the first time I heard this band. First impressions were, these guys are Placebo-Lite crossed with a little bit of Mogwai, butThis record was the first time I heard this band. First impressions were, these guys are Placebo-Lite crossed with a little bit of Mogwai, but that was a bit unfair and they have got their own identity going on. There are plenty of decent tunes on offer here and its only really the tail end of the record that lets it down a little bit. The more you listen, the more you get from the record, and in time, who knows, this might become an 8 record. Also, the bonus disk that comes with some version of this has an awesome, if unexpected version of Bjorks "All Is Full Of Love". Full Review »
  3. Dec 15, 2012
    7
    This album is good but it's hard to find a song on it that particularly stands out causing the songs to run together. It just doesn't have theThis album is good but it's hard to find a song on it that particularly stands out causing the songs to run together. It just doesn't have the variety that albums like Transatlanticism or Narrow Stairs have. This is an earlier album and you can tell. It's good but certainly not great. Full Review »