Dashboard Confessional – ‘Crooked Shadows’

By Chris Hilson

Incredibly, it’s been almost a decade since Dashboard Confessional last released an album of new songs, and seventeen years since ‘The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most’ secured its rightful place in emo lore. Over the years, Dashboard Confessional has evolved from an acoustic side project into a full-time full-band entity. However, given that the last couple of albums failed to match the quality and consistency of the idolised early material, ‘Crooked Shadows’ already feels like a gamble before the first note.

Chris Carrabba has one of the best and most recognisable voices in rock; his ability to ring every ounce of passion and emotion out of every syllable is the envy of fans and musicians alike. Thankfully, nothing has changed in the intervening years and so the opening notes and vocals of ‘We Fight’ are sure to bring a warm rush of nostalgia back for those who used to sing along to ‘Hands Down’ all those years ago. Musically, it’s the perfectly composed and structured slice of anthemic emo rock that you would expect.

‘Heart Beat Here’ and ‘Open My Eyes’ are reminders of the stripped-back origins of Dashboard Confessional. The latter, featuring Lindsey Stirling, swells to a heart-bursting crescendo, and adds a subtle depth to the often singular voice of Chris Carrabba. Not that ‘Crooked Shadows’ is an album that is stuck in the past; ‘Belong’ is a modern twist on the familiar, complete with neon-coated dance music synth chords. It’s arguably the most experimental song Dashboard Confessional song, and may prove divisive amongst fans.

Another duet, ‘Just What To Say’, closes the album with Chris teaming up with Chrissy Costanza of Against The Current. It’s also the song that perhaps sums up ‘Crooked Shadows’ the best; it pays respect to Dashboard Confessional’s roots, but also shows that Chris isn’t willing to trade on past glories, and that he is aware of how the musical landscape can change following such a lengthy absence. ‘Crooked Shadows’ may not be what everyone wants from Dashboard Confessional, but it is the music that Dashboard Confessional wants to make.


Three more album reviews for you

Perennial - 'Art History'

Slow Joy - 'Mi Amigo Slow Joy'