New Album from Emo Stalwarts Dashboard Confessional is a little formulaic at times but still a worthwhile album.
Dashboard Confessional return after a nine-year hiatus with the album Crooked Shadows. It is a welcomed return with slight reservation. The record almost seems unsure of its stance. On the one hand, Chris Carrabba comes out swinging in title track “We Fight”. It makes no attempts to hide exactly what it is: an emo anthem to let people know that Dashboard may have grown up, but they are still here for you. It’s almost as if he is speaking to the entire group that grew up during emo’s height and that have had to fight for a life that they want through the pain and the challenges. Chris Carrabba has been with you the whole time as he has never left and still is giving back and standing up for those without a voice. It is a fitting album opener and one of the best tracks on the album.
Much of the rest of the album seems to be lost in between pop formulas and the emo comfort we have all grown to love from them. There are some fantastic tracks on the album that redeem some of the slightly lacklustre tracks. “Crooked Shadows” is one track that blends the two concepts fighting for representation on the album quite well; it’s fun, danceable, while also being reminiscent of all of those wonderful nights spent listening to Dashboard when you were 15. “Heart Beat Here” and “Just What to Say” are probably the tracks that are the most reminiscent of the mellow and emotional journey that Dashboard Confessional is known for.
Bands should be allowed to grow and experiment, so in no way is this condemning the album or group for their more polished direction. It still is a solid album and a welcomed return of a great band. It is enjoyable and well put together, but as a long-time fan, some of the pop tracks on the album were slightly jarring in comparison to previous albums. Live, these songs translate quite well and deserve to be experienced in that manner before final judgment is given. It’s not the emo revival that we wanted, but it may just be the emo revival we deserve.