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Field Manual Limited Edition


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Audio CD, Limited Edition, January 29, 2008
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Biography

Known both as the guitarist/producer in Death Cab for Cutie and as an in-demand producer of other independent-minded artists (Tegan & Sara, Decemberists), Walla brings a refined aesthetic and melodic ear to everything he involves himself in. Walla's past recordings of his own songs (occasionally made available online under the name Martin Youth Auxiliary) have mostly been ... Read more in Amazon's Christopher Walla Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 29, 2008)
  • 1 edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Barsuk
  • ASIN: B0010V4U7W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,120 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Two-Fifty
2. Score, The
3. Sing Again
4. Bird Is A Song, A
5. Geometry & Co.
6. Everyone Needs A Home
7. Everybody On
8. Our Plans, Collapsing
9. Archer V. Light
10. St. Modesto
11. It's Unsustainable
12. Holes

Editorial Reviews

The debut solo album from Death Cab For Cutie founding member. An extraordinary album of atmospheric and politically minded alternative pop that displays his singular songwriting vision while simultaneously showing the degree to which his aesthetic has informed Death Cab's sound over the years. Two versions are available: digipak and limited edition cloth-bound hardcover.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cale E. Reneau on January 31, 2008
Format: Audio CD
It has often been said that the strength of Death Cab for Cutie is Ben Gibbard, the prolific lyricist and hopeless romantic with a nearly-flawless voice. I give the man a lot of credit, myself, as he's probably one of my favorite vocalists of all time! With all of that hype, one has to imagine that Chris Walla is a resilient guy; letting Ben get all the attention while he's busy not only playing the guitar, but producing some of the better records of the last couple of years (The Decemberists' The Crane Wife or Tegan and Sara's The Con). In truth, Death Cab for Cutie wouldn't be near as successful as they are if it weren't for Walla's influence and guidance. Therefore, you can probably imagine my anticipation for Field Manual, Walla's first solo album. Unfortunately, the album fails to leave any significant impression whatsoever, which paves the way for some very mixed feelings.

For the majority of Field Manual, Walla seems content to retread paths that have already been paved by Death Cab for Cutie. As such, a direct comparison seems entirely appropriate and the outcome of said comparison is not in his favor. The guitars, drums, keyboards and peripheral instrumentation are all saturated in the same inoffensive pop/rock sound that Death Cab shamelessly flaunts. Due to Walla's vast experience with this particular style of music, it all sounds rather well, flawless in fact. Where the comparison fails him, however, is in the vocal department. Quite simply, Walla's got nothing on Gibbard. His voice sounds constrained, like he should be singing proudly but instead decided to close his throat and settle for a breathy, raspy timbre.
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Format: Audio CD
For those that don't know, Chris Walla is a member of Death Cab for Cutie. More than that, he is a multi-instrumentalist, but I doubt he's marketed as such; he's one of those people where if you look at the liner notes of a CD and it lists all the members of a band and what instrument they play, HIS assignment would be "everything else" (for instance, he played piano on "Soul Meets Body" while he played lead guitar on "Crooked Teeth"). He didn't split from Death Cab to put out his debut solo album Field Manual, but at any rate, it's damn good.

One surprising thing is that this is one of the rare solo albums that doesn't have a different sound from the band's usual fare (maybe that's what happens when the band DOESN'T split up). Though the rhythms don't necessarily suck you in like the music on Plans, things still work well, as evidenced by "Sing Again", "Our Plans, Collapsing" and "Geometry & C". And the lone mellow track, "It's Unsustainable", is anything but.

Even though this album was delayed, it's a good thing it came out when it did because it's just the thing you need for a spring or summer drive. So grab your sunglasses, jump in the passenger's side and study this field manual.

Anthony Rupert
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By Kareen Land on July 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I bought Field Manual for half price at a local Borders in their "store reorganizing" or whatever they want to call it. (Most likely just a means of clearing out the interesting stuff to only carry the top 100.) Purchased on a whim, it turned out to be a gem. This album is just perfect for driving around town. It's sure to impress friends of any age if they're riding along in the car with you. It's indie cool but not annoying. I haven't gotten to know all the songs as intimately as some reviewers obviously have, but am looking forward to discovering favorites.
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