Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Dashboard Confessional – The Shade Of Poison Trees

We weighed in on Chris Carrabba’s bright-eyed and achy-breaky “Thick As Thieves,” but on the eve of its release, there’s a chance to hear The Shade Of Poison Trees in all its unplugged glory at Dashboard Confessional’s MySpace. We haven’t listened very long, but we have some opinions on the Floridian’s lyrical and emotional flourishes. Pass the hankie, please.

“Where There’s Gold” informs us all Kanye-like that “where there’s gold, there’s a gold digger.” It pairs well with “Matters Of Blood And Connections,” another tune dealing with money: “Why do you speak with that accent now? / Everyone knows you’re not from the streets. / You went to prep school in Cambridge, / with daughters and sons of the privileged elite.” Open question, emo kids, open questions…

As always, the best songs seem to be the more heart-crushed/heat-craving unclean breaks and the youthful revolts (e.g. the falsetto-tinted title track, “I Light My Own Fires Now,” “Widow’s Peak”), hence the fitting bloody apple cover art: so Edenic, so loss-of-innocence, so back-to-school. The creepy thing here, considering Dashboard’s main demographic? Dude’s 32. Wonder if the FBI’s monitoring his MySpace comment section (like can some of these kids even get behind a wheel to have a dashboard confessional?). And sometimes he goes too far creating overblown extended metaphors (see “Little Bombs”) when simple human emotion might work better with the bottled energy. It’s like, the kids aren’t coming here for high literature– they want your high-school poetry, even if you are old enough to be their teacher. Oh, maybe that’s what the apple’s all about.

The Shade Of Poison Trees is out 10/2 (tomorrow) on Vagrant Records.