Dashboard Confessional – Dusk and Summer
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Record Label: Vagrant
Ever since the demise of first-generation Further Seems Forever and the beginning of what could be called a legendary project, Chris Carrabba has established himself as the giant teardrop with a guitar and fans have either loved him or hated him for his heart-on-sleeve approach. But as the evolution of most musicians, Chris took his solo endeavor further, adding a full band to his last release, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. While the success of that release was wavering and short-lasting, his first full-band studio record Dusk And Summer requires the same close watch.
The album welcomingly opens with “Don’t Wait” a track that reaches far vocally but limps in instrumentally. Blasé drumwork and saggy guitars are camouflaged by the manipulative chorus of “oh’s,” though somehow the introductory track made it as the first single from the album. With only nine other tracks, successful singles might be few and far between. The fact of the matter is that this straightforward approach is pleasing for just about everyone. Radio stations will eat this album up. Between the walls of adult contemporary and pop-rock, Dashboard Confessional have awkwardly shed the emo skin long ago with The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most.
Dedicated fans will be drawn to “Stolen,” as easy-going ballad that doesn't expound in any single category but comes together well as a feathery love song. "Rooftops and Invitations" is well-packaged as the next single on the album. The opening riffs are reminiscent of Vertical Horizon's Everything You Want. This contemporary sound blends well with the lyrical content. While fans won't get the clever and witty rhymes that are most recognizable from a Carrabba album, the lyrics do lack the bleeding heart vocabulary which makes for a well-balanced album. Neither instruments nor lyrics/vocals overpower one another.
"Slow Decay" could perhaps be the most surprising track on the album. The song begins with a very somber and dark bass line (perhaps a bass line you would hear on Live's fifth album V) in which the Carrabba's vocals dip in and out of and oily whisper and an erupting yell. But the best instrumentals go to the keys on "So Long, So Long." Not too overbearing but also not too unapparent, they keys are a successful attempt to steal those who can't turn down a low-tempo ballad.
Even though Dashboard Confessional have removed the self-centered approach to musicianship with a full-rounded band, for some reason this is the first album cover that portrays Chris on the cover. Alone. Mixed signals or not this is a collaborative effort (including The Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz playing a duet buddy on “So Long, So Long,” in which Duritz adds a considerable texture to the album).
Personally, I would not have liked to see this release under the name of Dashboard Confessional. As someone who swooned through high school love and that “it’s cool to be sad” stage with Chris and his guitar, this is far from The Swiss Army Romance or either EP. Songs are fully structured and the dynamic of a band is not single-handed. To me, Dashboard Confessional is still Chris and only Chris.
Dusk And Summer is accessible from just about every single angle. The strings and keys add a tonic ambiance to what could be a rather flat album. While it's an uncomfortable listen for such a longtime fan like myself, Dusk And Summer is still an enjoyable album for the entire summer.
Um, it's not really a secret that the band is Chris. He said himself he writes everything from the melodies to the beats, so I don't think it's a big surprise. He just wants to be able to capture this sound live if he wants, so he brings in friends to help play it.
Anyway, I'm really excited about this, though I haven't heard it yet(tonight probably.). Also, I read somewhere that he's going to be going solo again probably, but he doesn't know when, and he wants to ride the band thing for a while.
Edit: What's the difference between Replayability and Lasting Power and why the big difference between them?