Dashboard Confessional’s new album, Summer and Dusk, pleases fans while having the potential to gain many new ones. Produced by big names such as Don Gilmore (Pearl Jam, Linkin Park) and Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan), Dashboard reaches a more mature and instrumentally driven place. Dashboard is also lent a hand by Counting Crows’ frontman Adam Duritz, who guest vocals on the piano-driven “So Long, So Long.”
Although it is not completely original musically, it is an enjoyable listen. It is pretty much what you’d expect from a Dashboard album which is pleasant and comforting to fans who also liked A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.
The album is flagged with the same sweet and sincere lyrics that branded Dashboard as an emo band with edgier riffs. The band now seems to be in between the emo-pop genre and contemporary due to a more mature sound. The addition of instruments definitely adds to the album but has the possibility to take away from vocalist Carrabba, individually, as many fans know him.
The quieter songs are where Carrabba shines. While Dashboard Confessional is proving themselves as a full band rather than just Carrabba, his six-strings, storytelling and vocals have been a focal point to many long-time fans. The songs where he is not being drowned out by the heavy guitars are more poignant.
“Slow Decay” has been called the darkest song on the album. At first Carrabba reminded me of Morrissey’s angry yet soft whispery tone, which was a nice change from Carrabba’s usual tone. Once the chorus hits, Carrabba’s usual emotional and angsty yell comes out.
Some songs are hard to distinguish from one another but they are still good listens. An addition of violin and piano on some songs add diversity to the album. The last track “Heaven Here” is more original than other songs with synth-violins and organs. Carrabba lets his angst out vocally more so than on other songs.
Carrabba has always had a way of connecting with listeners through strong emotive angst, which he continues with this album.
Dashboard Confessional is proving themselves as a full band, all the while still relating to old and new fans. Adding strings and keys has differentiated the sound from the last album; and Dashboard is successful at maintaining a exciting and more wide-ranging vibe.