Dashboard Confessional – The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

Dashboard Confessional
The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

Some people will immediately disregard the latest offering from Dashboard Confessional as being too blatantly emo. I would disregard those critics just as quickly, for this is truly a wonderful album. Dashboard Confessional is really the solo project of Chris Carrabba, formerly of the band Further Seems Forever. Armed with an acoustic guitar and often little else, Carrabba has released the most blatantly honest and sincere album you’re bound to hear.
Don’t think that just because this is all acoustic that you’re hearing typical singer/songwriter, folk-influenced fare. Carrabba is more influenced by bands such as Mineral and his former project than Dylan or Elliott Smith. Yes, you get acoustic guitar, but often multiple guitar parts are mixed together, and drums, keyboards, and other instrumentation pops up on several songs. Carrabba even provides his own backing vocals at times. These songs are fully fleshed out and brilliantly produced, maintaining a pure rock quality while not losing the warm, fresh appeal of acoustic rock.
You get an immediate sense of the sheer feeling represented on this album, as Carrabba starts “The Brilliant Dance,” a nice mid-tempo rocker, with, “So this is all painful realization that all is gone wrong.” An even better track, “Screaming Infidelities” is a strong rocker, with drums adding a new dimension to the project, and Carrabba’s vocals are brilliant, just as comfortable loud and in your face as hushed.
Dashboard Confessional occasionally does the more folk-style rocker, like “The Best Deceptions,” which is just vocals and guitar. It’s also the most outright emotional track here, and you can’t help but feel those emotions yourself, as Carrabba sings, “Kiss me hard, cuz this will be the last time that I let you.” Some soft strings make the perfect accompaniment to the beautiful “This Ruined Puzzle,” while “Saints and Sailors” follows it up as a much louder and faster rock song. Again the lyrics shine: “and this apartment is starving for an argument / anything at all to break the silence.”
“Which of the boldfaced lies will you use? I hope that you’re happy, you really deserve it,” Carrabba starts on the almost painfully honest “Standard Lines.” “Again I Go Unnoticed” is probably the loudest track here, with a rolling, crashing drum-beat, while the title track has some nice female backing vocals that match perfectly and should have been used more often. Carrabba’s vocals really stretch here, breaking by the end in a kind of howl as he almost shouts, “You can’t fake it hard enough to please.” “This Bitter Pill,” like its name, is almost astoundingly bitter, especially as Carrabba sings, “This medicine is just what you deserve. Swallow choke and die.” Again, his voice strains and breaks in an almost startling display of emotion.
I can’t help but find myself drawn to Dashboard Confessional. Many bands try to express the feelings we all feel in situations we all encounter, but I’ve never heard such sentiments expressed in as honest and comfortable setting as here. Perhaps it’s the acoustic guitars and the emphasis on Carrabba’s vocals, or perhaps Carrabba himself just has the ability to wear his emotions on his sleeve more easily. Regardless, this is an incredibly powerful and yet moving album that deserves to be heard by more than just those fans of emo.