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A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar
Artist: Dashboard Confessional
Length: 13 tracks
It seemed all of the sudden Chris Carrabba’s Dashboard Confessional went from being an underground hit to an MTV phenomenon with lovesick teenage girls singing along to every crooning, heartfelt word. Dashboard’s latest release is designed to more firmly establish itself in this new audience.
On this album, Carrabba pushes the limit of what Dashboard Confessional has been in the past, seeking to forge new ground by breaking away from the simple singer/songwriter mold. The vocals are as strong as ever, but now they are accompanied by a full band that many times ventures into the land of driving rock. This much is made obvious from the opening track “Hands Down,” which was re-recorded since its original incarnation on the So Impossible EP. In the case of this song, the new musical surroundings work. The rest of the album is spent trying to copy the success of this song to little avail.
Carrabba’s laments on love seem to lack much of the honesty that made his original work so appealing. There are a few exceptions, however, such as the instantly catchy “As Lovers Go.” Even on this song, however, the pop hooks are laid on a bit too heavy, forcing longtime listeners to wonder if there’s any substance still left underneath the new Dashboard Confessional’s pop facade.
Trae Cadenhead 10/13/2003