Emo scene stalwarts Dashboard Confessional are back with their first new material in eight years, Crooked Shadows is the seventh record from the Florida natives. This record sees them still confident in their refusal to adhere to the status quo, something they are all the better for.
Speaking about opening track; We Fight, frontman Chris Carrabba says it’s about those who focus on the strength of joint convictions rather than the weakness of differences. A message echoed through a chorus that is strong enough to support and empower those who need to hear it most. Emo has always had a way of bringing comfort through the medium of stadium sized choruses and lyrics that feel immensely personable.
When it came to writing the record, Carrabba expands on the process even further explaining how “me quickly became we”, a sentiment heavily felt on Heart Beat Here. The lyrics sung feel as though they have been taken from the minds of those who feel unable to speak out, giving them an outlet for emotional pain and suffering; but also for joy and enjoyment.
Title track Crooked Shadows is reminiscent of the golden age of emo, an era where Dashboard Confessional have managed to overcome the curse of eventual obscurity. It’s 2018, yet here they are still making classic sounding emo tunes. Singalong choruses emphasise the harmonic skill present, giving a depth of soul that is easy to overlook as contrived in many cases. The sincerity with which Dashboard Confessional continue to make music is incredibly admirable, and part of how they have outlasted many of their peers.
Chrissy Constanza lends her talent to album closer Just What To Say; an emotional tug of war that echo the genuine emotion in Carrabba’s own voice. It details the struggle of finding the right words, a difficult task when people’s feelings come into play. I have a feeling that this will prove to be a significant break up album for a lot of people going through a difficult time.
Approaching this Dashboard Confessional album, I was anxious it would fall short of expectations. Suffice to say it has thoroughly exceeded them, and Crooked Shadows has proven to be an enjoyable; if a little emotional, listen. Every song flows succinctly into the next, with enough variation of theme to maintain intrigue and pace. File under: good albums to cry to, drive to and have a good time to.