I am often wary of musicians who are traditionally not front men setting out own their own. Chris Walla is one of the principal architects of DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE (which over the past couple of records have quickly become one of my favorite bands) and he is preparing to release his first solo album, "Field Manual". The reason I get wary is that there is usually a reason these musicians don't front their original band (i.e. can't really sing or secretly can't write lyrics to stand up with the music.) While I reserve judgement until I hear the whole record, I have to say that I am encouraged by the three songs I have heard. The first, "Sing Again" is a very harmless slice of alt pop that could best be described as a cross between Death Cab and Guided By Voices (Walla's voice bears a striking resemblance to Robert Pollard with it's slightly smoke filled rasp). The other two tracks available on his myspace site follow an early REM-esque formula. So I can say I am looking forward to this as well as a proper new Death Cab record all in one year.
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