Dashboard Confessional: The Shade of the Poison Trees

By MIKAEL WOOD  |  October 8, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
On his previous album as Dashboard Confessional, 2006’s Dusk and Summer, 32-year-old Chris Carrabba added surging electric guitars and booming arena-rock drums to the stripped-down emo-folk template that made him a hero (and a heartthrob) to a nation of awkward teens. Dusk and Summer sounded as if it were meant to introduce Carrabba’s music to a new above-ground audience, but instead of roping in Nickelback fans, the CD made many Dashboard devotees wonder whether Carrabba hadn’t forsaken them for greener commercial pastures. He attempts to win back them back on The Shade of Poison Trees, a self-conscious return to Dashboard’s acoustic-troubadour roots. The good news is that the mellower sounds don’t come with mellower sentiments: in “Where There’s Gold” he makes Kanye West’s anti-opportunist stance seem pretty lenient, and in “Matters of Blood and Connection” he inveighs against an Ivy League rich kid given to masquerading as a street-smart hard case. The people want their wimp back; he’ll meet them halfway.
Related: Emo in the rain, Dashboard Confessional, On the racks: June 27, 2006, More more >
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