Dashboard Confessional

Alter The Ending

Written by: TL on 29/11/2009 19:03:14

As has come to be almost tradition, I approach the new album from Dashboard Confessional with mixed expectations. As their discography (six LP's at the moment) shows, it is troublesome being a band whose best songs are always the slow and soft ones. On 2006's "Dusk And Summer", DC tried to be something else than that band with the ballads and ended up sounding, well, like Westlife with guitars. At least that's the way I remember it, I haven't heard the album a single time since then. Then "The Shade Of Poison Trees" fared much better, taking a step back to the subtle, yet crisp acoustic compositions and putting a larger emphasis on the lyricism, but still, it was hard not to feel that we had heard it before and that the band was somewhat past their prime. So what is one to think, of their new album "Alter The Ending"

Well, from the leading single "Belle Of The Boulevard", you can safely make the judgment that "Alter The Ending" sits soundwise somewhere in between "Poison Trees" and "Dusk And Summer". There's still a core of subtle poppyness to most of the songs on offer, but the guitars do in fact get plugged in here, giving way for more volumous choruses. Choruses that also fare better than those of "Dusk Of Summer", as you will probably also be able to deduct if you've given said single a few spins. The feeling is kind of like on that "Vindicated" song, that the band recorded for the Spiderman 2 OST, and other examples of where this goes well, could be album opener "Get Me Right", or the up-beat "The Motions" which also features some added Motion City Soundtrack-esque keyboards.

The fact of the matter remains though, that for one thing, DC still just sound more believable when they're all quiet, simple and up close - like on the short "Even Now". That's when you feel them. They've gotten better at the whole 'louder-guitar-pop' thing, but still, even as I mention that the songs here sound like "Vindicated", I still think the memory of that song will stay with me far longer than those of most of these songs. Last time I reviewed the band, I remember quoting one of the songs where frontman Chris Carabba sang "Give me some teeth, give me something unforgettable!" and I'm going to go ahead and re-use that quote here, because Chris, I'm afraid I still don't quite feel like you deliver on your own request. You've found a more secure footing with this disc, and thankfully a more varied one than the two last times, yet while I do not doubt there will be plenty of passionate fans singing along at all your future shows, if it seems like they go just a little bit more crazy to songs like "Hands Down" and "Screaming Infidelities", it's because those really are better songs. Hard as it must be to see this written, I'm afraid that those were DC's glory days, and while they're showing good tendencies, they haven't found their way back entirely yet.

Download: Belle Of The Boulevard, Get Me Right, Even Now, The Motions
For The Fans Of: Jack's Mannequin, The Almost, Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World
Listen: myspace.com/dashboardconfessional

Release Date 10.11.2009
Vagrant Records

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