A New Direction to an Ending

Dusk and Summer (Vagrant Records)
Dashboard Confessional

By Cricket Bidwell

With a new, fuller sound driven by lots of arena-ready guitars, the "Father of Emo," Chris Carrabba and friends take their earnest, acoustic sound and turn things up a notch or two. It works to varying degrees, although I still prefer the traditional stuff.

In "Dusk and Summer," the familiar Dashboard Confessional sound and emotional vocals are squarely at the forefront, although the lyric does seem to show a shift in perspective: "Some things tie your life together / in slender threads of things to treasure," Carrabba sings, signifying a looking back, instead of being in the moment.

Interestingly, many of the songs seem to point toward endings of varying sorts. On "So Long, So Long," the Counting Crows' Adam Duritz lends his voice for a unique harmony and this tune is easily my favorite on the album. And the piano, violin and reflective vocal and lyric capture the feeling of a fading love: "Drive past the lifeguard stand / where I'd sit around / waiting for you to remember."

This theme of finality, or at least a sense of fading, comes into play in other songs as well, such as "Currents" and "Slow Decay."

While I feel Carrabba is better, or perhaps just more comfortable, with the acoustic, emotional and sometimes pleading sounds of previous albums, I look forward to see what comes next. He seems to have matured in the past few years and I think once the band embraces this new style and owns it, things could get really interesting.

Get interested at www.dashboardconfessional.com.