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Dashboard Confessional
So Impossible EP
Vagrant Records

By now, Dashboard Confessional has established itself as the reigning monarch on the new acoustic indie scene, a scene that includes Pedro The Lion, Onelinedrawing, and many others. With an emo pedigree and striking good looks, along with a gift for writing songs that are heartfelt, universal, and, yes, confessional, Dashboard de facto, Christopher Ender Carrabba, is a new generation’s Morrissey. To draw that comparison out too far would do a disservice to both artists, but it’s essentially true nonetheless.

Carrabba introduced the Dashboard esthetic, a sincere, heart-on-the-sleeve departure from the harder core of his bands, the Vacant Andys and Further Seems Forever, on the Drowning EP. The esthetic was further refined on the debut full-length, Swiss Army Romance, and was perfected on last year’s masterful The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. The follow-up to that record has been eagerly anticipated by more than just the adolescents who form Dashboard’s core audience and who identify most strongly with Carrabba’s lyrical themes. Folks in their twenties and thirties have also found something compelling in Carrabba’s passion, his candor, his stripped-bare style, and, especially, in his riveting, involving, and moving live performances.

That follow-up is a four-song cycle about the thrill and excitement of falling in love, or at least deep infatuation. The fluid lineup of Dashboard Confessional, which Carrabba continually insists is more than just a solo project, has previously included former bandmates and friends. This time out, Dashboard Confessional is Carrabba and former Sunny Day Real Estate guitarist Dan Horner. The opening track, "For You To Notice…", sounds vaguely like the Dream Academy’s great 80s hit, "Life In A Northern Town". In it, our narrator for this story sings an open letter to the object of his longing about how he might best capture his/her attention. The title track follows, telling the story of these two acquaintances arranging to meet up at a party, under the pretense of getting two of their friends together, while secretly hoping that they themselves will end up together. This leads to "Remember To Breathe", a tense tale of each of the characters preparing for their first meeting. Here, our narrator’s insecurity is most palpable and easiest to identify with: I try on my blue shirt/She told me she liked it once…/So sneakers or flip flops?/I’m starting to panic!/Remember she asked you/Remember to breathe and everything will be okay. Finally, our heroes meet up and hook up in the double entendre "Hands Down". The music has quietly built by this time throughout the duration of the record to the crescendo appropriate to this narrative moment.

Without a doubt, this is Dashboard’s most unabashedly romantic record yet. The lyrical content and the musical style are slightly quieter and less intensely driven than anything on Places, and there’s nothing particularly new about the music here, but the vulnerability and sweetness of this record is nothing less than teenage ecstasy, the kind that can be appreciated by teens of all ages.

If you’ve ever had a crush that made you feel like your heart would burst, you’ll know what this record is playing at. You, like most of Dashboard’s fans, will want to reach out and hug Carrabba, and, while you enjoy the camaraderie of that brief embrace, you’ll want to whisper in his hear, "I know." Who doesn’t?

- Eryc Eyl

Track Listing:

  1. For You To Notice
  2. So Impossible
  3. Remember To Breathe
  4. Hands Down

Related Link:

Dashboard Confessional Artist Profile

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