Dashboard Confessional, Alter the Ending Review

Dcalbum Before all my loyal dad readers blanch at me reviewing the new Dashboard disc first let me say that if you've been turned off by a stray song you heard or some stereotyped image the name conjures up, you should give this review a read. And second, I've been covering Chris Carrabba for over ten years now and it's enlightening to hear the changes in his work.

This is his most mature disc yet an it's the first time he's really made full use of having a band. I was worried for the guy after the Dusk and Summer record but with The Shade of Poison Trees and now this I'm a bit more relieved.

My biggest issue with the disc is the single "Belle of the Boulevard" when clearly disc opener "Get Me Right" is the stronger piece of music. There's also an odd 1980s vibe that l get into. Plus it will still satisfy the listening habits of your better half.

"Alter The Ending"

As for the 1980s thing I'm not talking lame "Safety Dance" keyboards but there's an overall sound that definitely reminds me of the Breakfast Club soundtrack and maybe even some Peter Gabriel. These have nothing to do with the songwriting, just the sonic atmosphere of the electric disc. It can get distracting like on "The Motions" because it is so retro sounding.

Vacant Andys "Loaded Words"

But to me I like the rock songs most like the title track. "Alter the Ending" is the first Dashboard song that reminded me of Carrabba's past punk outfits the Vacant Andys and The Agency. Which is great. "Everyone Learns From Disaster" is more of a melding of Dashboards sound and that harder rock rather than the homage of "Alter the Ending."

"Blame it on the Changes" also spells out why this disc is an improvement. It's packed full of songs you can sing along to, and that was really how the acoustic band started. The last two records kind of lost the plot in terms of being catchy.

Acoustics aren't completely forgotten. A special edition comes with a bonus disc of the full album recorded acoustic which is worth getting. But on both, "Even Now" is a straight forward ballad about long distance longing which is quite beautiful.

There are a couple of bummer tracks and if you don't like lyrics ripped straight from a journal it wont be for you. But overall it's what I call an enjoyable album. The songs have great structure and you want to sing along even though you think you shouldn't. I guess they call that a guilty pleasure.

Now I just want a whole rock record like the title track. Can you work on that Chris?