Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dashboard Confessional – The Drowning EP (1998)

Pros: Great Acoustic Guitar and Familiar Dashboard Sound!

Cons: Very short...

The Bottom Line: Great CD!! Short but Sweet!!

Obviously a little pricey for just seven minutes of songs, Drowning [EP] is great for any Dashboard fan. The EP features pretty much only acoustic guitar and vocals, so if you didn't like The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, than you probably will not be a fan of the Drowning [EP]. Enough chit-chat though, let the review begin... 


Drowning | Anyone, Anyone? | For Justin 

1. Drowning [3:18] - Obviously the title song of the EP, Chris Carabba features a lot of vocals and acoustic guitar in the song, sounding very similar to Dashboard's debut release, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. The song starts out with Chris strumming on his acoustic guitar, and the lyrics kick in around the seven second mark (mmm... specificity...). The vocals are not overly powerful in the beginning of the song, but they are still strong. About thirty-five seconds into the song, Chris almost harmonizes with a string instrument (I believe it's a cello, but I'm not sure... I'm not up to par with my string instruments...), and then plays off of it vocally for a little while. The guitar is fairly simple and repetitive, which is a trademark of Dashboard Confessional, but also one of Carabba's (seeing as he was the whole band in the debut CD and the EP) stronger points because his vocals and emotional lyrics become somewhat catchy. There are a few background vocals to be found in Drowning, but they're scarce. It sounds great when he pulls them off, but they're just not around enough. My favourite lyrics from this song are: And time has been spread so thin / and it's just hours till the day begins / And the things that are keeping you here are not keeping me here / and the things that are keeping you here will keep me away. / And you'll be sorry / isn't that what they'll say. / Don't follow your heart cause it just seems to get in your way. / And don't ever leave here / and mope at your leisure / and straighten out your crease here / and truth is in a tall beer. / Are you drowning your fears / in a glass of deception? / When everything is hazy than everything will be ok. / When everything is hazy than you won't be sad that you stayed.

2. Anyone, Anyone? [1:55] - The second (and middle) song of the EP kicks off with acoustic guitar and vocals right away. The guitar carries a better tune this time than it did in Drowning, and the vocals are a little more prominent in the beginning. This song is definitely a little more depressed and upsetting in tone than Drowning was as well. One of the great things about Carabba, and Dashboard in general, is that he can carry a tune very well. He shows off this ability here when he cuts the guitar and leaves himself with just vocals. It works extremely well. The guitar picks the pace up a little bit right before the thirty second mark, and the vocals go a little bit quicker as well, but it works. At this point, there is a little bit of vocal harmony as well, which is pulled off extremely well. Seeing as Carabba is the whole band, he is the lead and background vocals. To pull this off very well is extremely hard to do because it means that he has to sit down and sing the different parts at different recordings. At times he will haromize one word. For a little while here, though, he sings in complete harmony for lines at a time. He pulls it off amazingly and, I think, it really shows his musical talent. The best lyrics can be found right in the middle of the song. I can't see how / The way that you leave me alone / Makes us close / I must be out of touch / I won't ask you / To give up on the things / That seem to keep you gone / But I can be gone too... 

3. For Justin [1:58] - By far my favourite song on the EP, For Justin kicks off with just vocals, and then the acoustic guitar kicks in a second later. While all of the songs have the same acoustic guitar sound, the speed and chords change so drastically that you do not really notice (unless, of course, you're writing an epinion on it and you're forced to comment on little things throughout the cd...). In the beginning, Carabba puts a lot of emphasis on certain chords and it keeps the beat going well (remember... there are no drums or bass at all). He incorporates strategic pauses during the song where he cuts out the guitar or the guitar and vocals. I think it works really well. There is a little bit harmony within the vocals at time, but definitely not as much as there was in Anyone, Anyone?. The song ends rather abruptly, which is somewhat of a surprise. Instead of teetering out in usual Dashboard fashion (i.e. having the guitar have a chord go for a little while) the song ends right after the last lyric. While it makes the song feel a little rushed, I still love it! My favourite lyrics are the opening lyrics: It's been a year now / since you were here now / and I'll be tryin to heal inside / dedications have all been placed / and I see your resemblance in my face / And on our birthday I'll set an extra wish for you / for you... / and I have learned so much since you've been gone / and I have done so little for so long / so now I'll settle up my grievances / and focus on the savory / and wave all these discrepancies away / and I'll peter out these misconceptions / give out faith at my discretion / live a life that you would think was sane / sane.... 

Overall - Honestly, it's great. For those of you keeping track, Drowning [EP] is 7:11 long, so it's definitely very, very quick. It's an EP, though, so it's made to be short. If you don't like acoustic guitar, stay away. It's the famous Dashboard sound. If you were a fan of their debut album, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most than you will definitely love the Drowning [EP]. It is a little bit on the pricey side, so you have to be willing to spend a little bit of cash to get a few great songs!! Overall, I love it.

Ryan Brennan

password: thelastwordisrejoice

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