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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Dashboard Confessional - "The Shade of Poison Trees"

Dashboard Confessional is the musical equivalent of shows like "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills" - a teenage soap opera that claims to be based in reality but is rooted in a fictional world of excessive melodrama.

For his band's fifth studio LP, Chris Carrabba returns to Dashboard's early acoustic existence, ditching most of the electric guitars, drums, pianos and string arrangements that made the last two albums bearable.

Carrabba's aim remains the same, though: emotive songwriting about the heavy burdens of young love, paired with his whiny and annoying voice. This, combined with the stripped-down musical arrangements, makes "The Shade of Poison Trees" completely unmemorable.

Songs like "Little Bombs" and "Where There's Gold" sound like every other Dashboard song and are several steps back from the slight innovation of the band's 2006 album, "Dusk and Summer." More disturbing is Carrabba's complete reliance on essentially the same guitar rhythm on "I Light My Own Fires Now," "Fever Dreams" and many other tracks.

"The Shade of Poison Trees" is a very quick follow-up to "Dusk and Summer," and it shows. Carrabba sounds uninspired, and Dashboard's whole shtick is worn out. As with anyone oversaturating themselves, Carrabba is slowly becoming a parody of himself.

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