Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dashboard Confessional – The Swiss Army Romance (2000)

Originally released on Fiddler Records with only 1000 copies or so made, Dashboard Confessional soon would become one of the worlds best acoustic bands ever. Shortly after its release on Fiddler Records a decision was made to move to a more well known label so that it could reach more ears. So on November 14, 2000 Drive Thru Records bought the rights to Swiss Army Romance and had them until 2003 when Carraba and Vagrant records bought it. Starting as only a side project, Chris Carabba of Further Seems Forever, tried to use Dashboard Confessional as an outlet. But after the success of Swiss Army Romance it seemed like the side project would become Carraba's main project.

The name Dashboard Confessional comes from the song "Sharp Hint Of New Tears" which contains the line "On the way home/This car hears my confessions". Dashboard originally was just front man Chris Carraba, until about 2002 when he had a definite line up. When questioned about why using the name Dashboard Confessional instead of using his own name he replied. "What rulebook says it has to be called your name if your one guy?"

Since Swiss Army Romance Dashboard/Carraba has been quite busy. With three EPs ,"The Drowning EP", "So Impossible", and "Summer's Kiss". Five full length productions, "Swiss Army Romance", "The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most", «MTV Unplugged 2 , "A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar", and recently "Dusk And Summer." With huge success of all these records it doesn't look like Dashboard Confessional has any signs of slowing down.

Carraba opens this album off with "Screaming Infidelities" a great track with heartfelt strums on his guitar and whinny vocals set the stage for the entire record.. The song itself is about a guy who is full of an overwhelming sorrow about the woman of his dreams who shatters him with acts of infidelity. The best thing about the song is how much emotion Carraba pours into it, which is why I believe this rendition of the song is better than on «"he Place You Have Come To Fear The Most". The second track delivers us with the epic name Dashboard Confessional. The song is about a car ride home, and the racing thoughts of a failed relationship, I especially like how Carraba mentions the minor details of the ride, like the wind blowing and the damp air fighting the defroster.

"Living In Your Letters" has another session of soothing strums of the guitar, and more whinny love sick lyrics, and a sensational whinny voice of Carraba. The only draw backs to this song and many on the album are they all mostly sound the same. So stand out tracks will be few and far between. The title track has a very catchy sound, it is about a girl who is fake in front of everyone, and Carraba says "I would like to see you undone" meaning he would like to see the real her. Again very emotionally charged track.

"Turpentine Chaser" truly a beautiful song, although when it is on an album with such craftsmanship, it is the kinda track to fall between the cracks. "A Plain Morning" is extraordinary, due to its back up female vocalist, her voice compliments Carraba perfectly. "Age Six Racer" also has the back up female vocals and melds with Carraba's voice tremendously , the raw emotion from this song, about a summer that he misses makes this track a winner!

"Again I Go Unnoticed" is stand out track, alittle bit faster paced than the rest of the album. The song is about a relationship that is losing its passion. Down to the lack of conversation due to the TV, the closed lip kiss that is lacking passion, and the mixed signals. "Ender Will Save Us All" is another stand out track, alittle background about the title, Ender is Chris Carraba's middle name. The song itself is beautifully written and performed excellently. With such lyrics as "I wanna give you whatever you need? What is it you need? Is it what I need? I wanna give you whatever you need? What is it you need? Is it within me?" This is also my favorite track on the album.

"Shirts and Gloves" is yet again another song about a failing relationship! Go figure! It is however very elegant. With extremely soft strokes of the guitar, and very Carraba produces a very, very soft voice. The last original track is Untitled. It is different from the rest of the album, it kinda sounds like a good ole folk song turned rock song. It again has great lyrics.

In conclusion, we now know that Carraba is the master with a pen and a piece of paper. One of the most emotionally charged albums I have ever heard. I like this album almost as much as I like "Places You Have Come To Fear The Most" and more than "A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar", "MTV Unplugged 2", and "Dusk and Summer". Making this my second favorite Dashboard Confessional record. The plus side to the album is that every track is filled with pure emotion and every word spoken is from the heart. The back up vocals on "A Plain Morning" and "Age Six Racer" are superb. The draw backs to this album are that most of the tracks sound extremely similar, but you can only mix it up so much when you are a one man band! The other major draw back is the damn synthesizer! I have no idea what Carraba was thinking!

Tracks to listen to "Screaming Infidelities", "Sharp Hint Of New Tears", "Swiss Army Romance", "Age Six Racer", "Again I go Unnoticed", and "Ender Will Save Us All"

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