After a 7-year hiatus, Dashboard Confessional returns with their new studio album, Crooked Shadows. Dashboard confessional, originating in Boca Raton, Florida, is an American rock band, fronted by lead singer, Chris Carrabba. Crooked Shadows, the band’s 7th studio album, signifies a new direction for the band as they take a clear step away from their traditional “emo” roots and jump into the pop-music scene. This album cultivates a new, unexpected energy, incorporating a diverse range of sounds from indie-pop, alt-rock and punk influences. Each track is lyrically driven and emotionally dense, underlining the band’s archetypal approach to intimate storytelling.
The album commences with a surge of volume and intensity with the opening track, “We Fight”, paying homage to the band’s previous emo-rock sound. This song is aggressive, coming in hot with electric guitar, heavy drums and wailing vocals. This track expresses a message every kid needs to hear that “somebody cares, somebody knows”, as Carrabba encourages listeners to pick themselves up and “keep digging in”, because things will get better. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, you will not be disappointed by the sound of this track!
The album progresses to “Catch You”, an upbeat hard-hitting love ballad, containing a complex collection of instruments including electric guitar, drums and piano. The interesting hook and catchy lyrics certainly makes this a notable and memorable song. Other tracks like “About us”, “Crooked Shadows” and “Be Alright” share a consistent pop-rock sound, none of which stand out as exceptionally impressive. However, “Belong”, featuring American electronic group Cash Cash, is a bouncy and vivacious song, amalgamating alternative rock with mainstream pop. This unexpected addition to the album contains and audacious beat that is typical of a punchy house-ballad.
The remaining tracks, “Hearts Beat Here”, “Open My Eyes” and “Just What To Say”, are slower and lyrically driven, eliciting ideas of “wishing to be found” and “opening your eyes to the truth”. These softer ballads contain bridges that effectively elevate each song, by embracing triumphant builds and satisfying drops. These songs also feature the talents of Lindsey Stirling and Chrissy Costanza.
Overall, the album is well produced, containing rich sounds, complex instrumentation and a range of controlled vocals. However, that being said, the album does have some discrepancies as songs were so distinct from one another, that they don’t flow together cohesively on this album. Additionally, many of the tracks became fairly repetitive as the song titles were reiterated again and again throughout each chorus. This album definitely veers the band down a new path, as the track list encompasses intimate and soft ballads, along with mainstream pop songs.
If you’re just getting into Dashboard Confessional and want to hear a familiar tune, check out their covers of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” and The 1975’s “Sex”, as the band executes unique renditions of these widely known songs on their 2017 EP, Covered and Taped.
My recommended tracks are: “Belong”, “We Fight” and “Just What To Say”.