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  Death Cab For Cutie: Transatlanticism

Death Cab For Cutie
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Reviews: 2

Review by thelonious27 August 29, 2011 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
My bona fides: well over 200 SACDs, close to 100 DCC and MFSL gold cds, and a precisely tuned audio system including Creek amp, REL sub, Sony SCD 777es cd player.

I won't comment on the music itself, which speaks for itself, except to say that this and PLANS are my two favorite Death Cab albums. The sonics are what is relevant on this site, and I have to disagree rather strongly with the other reviewer -- while this is certainly not the best SACD I've heard, and may well (as far as I know) be based on a PCM master, it has A LOT of dynamic improvement over the redbook cd layer, with crisp highs, resonant bass and notable slam. It is much better than the classic "bad" SACDs. Night and day, in my opinion, between the two layers. If you like Death Cab, and have an SACD player, the purchase of this SACD is a no brainer; you won't ever listen to the red book layer again.

NOTE: My cd player often has trouble reading the SACD layer of this disc -- I regularly have to reload several times before it will recognize it. Not sure if this is a known glitch with this disc, or a compatibility issue with my early generation player.

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Review by colewade January 10, 2006 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I am a big fan of Death Cab for Cutie. After downloading the more recent and more upbeat “Plans” album on I-tunes, “Transatlanticism” seemed like an obvious choice among my first ten SACD purchases. Familiar with the title song from HBO’s “Six Feet Under” album it seemed like an exciting choice. The title song left me hoping for a nice long dreamy epic sort of work with astounding vocals and layered music that actually breaks new ground. “Lightness” and “A lack of Color” are both tracks that actually live up to that expectation for me, but I mean it as a compliment to a band that continues to evolve and invent when I say that “Plans” is actually an easier listen.

I think “Transatlanticism” may actually grow on me with time, but I found it much darker and more brooding than “Plans“. At times the mechanical backgrounds and flashes of distorted electric guitars add angst and anxiety instead of beauty. This aspect is disturbing on almost a subliminal level especially on the first half of the album. The nice transition before and after the title song made my ears smile. While not an even play, the album as a whole is quite decent, but it wouldn’t make my top 50.

I must say that I was underwhelmed with sonic quality of this album. The 2.1 stereo version just didn’t do it for me. I had to crank the volume of my 1000 watt Onkyo 7.1 to notice the expanse, clarity, and detail that I have come to expect with the SACD format. I am not really opposed to the 2.1 format. I have a very old 2.1 SACD title from the Living Stereo classical series that I am perfectly happy with as it preserves and improves upon a spectacular recording. In this case, it is a shame that the SACD layer for Transatlanticism was recorded in 2.1 stereo. Call it heresy, but I actually prefer the CD layer played on all channel stereo. Nice CD quality at a lower volume with a room full of music.

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