Dashboard Confessional’s last album, The Shade Of Poison Trees found them turning the volume down and going back to their roots. The album was soft, acoustic and mellow all the way through. Apparently Chris Carrabba & co. have grown tired of that style as they go back to their full band ensemble, with their latest album Alter The Ending.
The album comes right out of the gate with the song “Get Me Right”, which is a very catchy beginning to the album. It will be hard not to revisit this song again and again before finishing the entire album, as it is a great start to the album. Following tracks like “Until Morning” and “Everybody Learns From Disaster” have the same kind of epic, yet soft feeling to it.
Most predominantly, the main flaw of the entire album is the band’s obsession with over-production. From a band that truly shines at their most vulnerable, a lot of sheen doesn’t really help the feeling of relatable lyrics. The return to form of their last album was a great maturing point for them, but unfortunately they were not able to carry it on. Some songs just come off as trite and over compensating with production (“Belle Of The Boulevard”, “I Know About You”).
At their best, Dashboard Confessional are impeccable at writing a slow, catchy little ditty of love and loss. Songs such as “Even Now” and closing track “Hell On The Throat” are shining moments during Alter The Ending’s journey. These songs show just how good the band can be, and how they don’t necessarily need intense production to pull off honesty or epic intentions.
The album as a whole shows that well produced songs can co-exist with heartfelt acoustic ballads. There are missteps here and there, and sometimes you feel as though the band should harken back to their previous album. But there is a sense of unity, and aspiration for change throughout the album. Dashboard Confessional aren’t in any hurry though to change who they are, or else we’d be hearing a lot more auto tune and references to neon clothing, and that’s something we can all be thankful for in these times.