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Dashboard Confessional - Dusk & Summer

Dashboard Confessional, Dusk & Summer

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DASHBOARD Confessional was originally conceived as a way for lead singer and guitarist Chris Carrabba to write acoustic-based songs outside of his band Further Seems Forever.

Since then, they’ve become one of America’s modern rock institutions. Early albums such as The Swiss Army Romance and The Place You Have Come To Fear The Most earned rave reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and Spin.

Their last album, 2003’s A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar debuted at #2 on the US Billboard Album Charts and sold over a million copies, confirming the band’s reputation as big hitters.

The release of their fourth studio album has much riding on it, so Chris has enlisted some musical heavyweights to help with production duties in the form of Don Gilmore (Pearl Jam, Linkin Park) and famed U2 collaborator, Daniel Lanois.

The result is the accomplished if unspectacular Dusk & Summer, a collection of radio-friendly, punk-infected acoustic rock songs that are delivered in tandem with Carrabba’s emotionally wrought vocals.

Sometimes this makes for a strong concoction, as in the powerfully reflective title track (which contains more than a hint of Goo Goo Dolls at their most epic), or the upbeat, gritty guitar rock of Reason To Believe.

But all too often, the album seems content to drift from one routine track to another, doing its American rock thing without really bringing anything new to the genre.

The worthiness of some of the words occasionally becomes overbearing, with lyrics such as “we are compelled to do what we must do, we are compelled to do what we have been forbidden” (on The Secret’s In The Telling).

Musically, the band succeeds in generating some strong hooks, such as during the opening moments of Stolen and Currents, but even then some tracks are let down by some pretty bland vocals.

Indeed, Carrabba can’t seem to carry off the romantic stuff as well as he does the angst and anger. One of the better tracks, Slow Decay offers some of the best songwriting on the album with lines like “stand down son, start resting easy, you’ve done your service, I’m proud to have you home and see you safe” and, later on, “it’s the simple things dad, I’m not hurt, I’m no dead, I just should be where my friends are lying, And I didn’t hate those that I killed, but they’re all dead now”.

The anger of half a nation is capably summed up on this emotive exchange and the track leaves you pining for a little more of the same.

Given the fact that it’s been two years in the making, Dashboard Confessional fans will doubtless welcome this album as an overdue release and a welcome return. It just needed to be a little more adventurous and a little more gutsy in places.

Track listing:

  1. Don’t Wait
  2. Reason To Believe
  3. Secret’s In The Telling
  4. Stolen
  5. Rooftops And Invitations
  6. So Long So Long
  7. Currents
  8. Slow Decay
  9. Dusk And Summer
  10. Heaven Here
  11. Vindicated