Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, “Never Give Up” (2013): One Track Mind

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Ben Gibbard doesn’t have the market cornered on elegiac piano-driven balladry. Turns out Chris Walla, his long-time bandmate in Death Cab for Cutie, is issuing just such a ruminative bit of melancholy for Record Store Day.

“Never Give Up,” which will be paired on a seven-inch single with the far more upbeat “Incredibly Still” from Sombear on April 20, 2013 via Walla’s Trans-Records, travels across a desolate lunar landscape of sound — quiet, echoing and utterly, utterly alone. Ambient sounds filter in, recalling Death Cab’s earliest ultra-lo fi recordings, and (if we’re being honest) the emo label that was often stuck on the band in its early days, as well.

Coupled with earlier recordings as Martin Youth Auxiliary, not to mention his 2008 solo debut Field Manual, “Never Give Up” seems to underscore the image of Walla as a kind of George Harrison figure within the band — someone with a lot more to say than he’s ever been given credit for.

More appetizer than entree, it’s as beautiful as it is, ultimately, only intriguing. Let’s hope there’s more on the way to help fill out the picture of what Walla’s up to right now.

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