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The Shade of Poison Trees

39 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 2, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As a payback to the fans, Dashboard Confessional returns to his roots with The Shade of Poison Trees that was recorded back in his home state of Florida in early 2007. With familiar song structures and lyrical content reminiscent of earlier releases, the new album presents a great opportunity to reconnect with the core base as the artist's mainstream appeal continues to broaden. The new release will coincide with a solo headlining tour with Augustana and fellow label mate John Ralston beginning on September 28th.

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Chris Carrabba has an underlying message in "Where There's Gold,"the lead track on Dashboard Confessional's fifth album. The band's singer and songwriter speaks up about breaking from the routine of "lights and praise" and "curtain calls," all under the navigation of a pair of acoustic guitars that prove paramount on the 12-song record. For as much as Carrabba preaches the band aspect, Poison Trees is as much a solo record as any in the Florida group's catalog. Dashboard recoils to the acoustic flair that marked its early output, with two of the stronger tracks--"Keep Watch for the Mines" and "Little Bombs"--skipping the rhythm section all together. Carraba still spews lyrics that seem governed by the opposite sex, asking, "Is there time to follow your heart?" in the Beatles-influenced title song, while laying down the "I love-you-today, you'll-love-me-tomorrow" gauntlet in the heartrending "The Rush." He still finds time to poke fun at the privileged elite on "Matters of Blood and Connection," a splendid ballad that segues into the album's best song, "Clean Breaks." Complete with its complicated lead and sprinkles of string instruments, it lies in contrast to the simplicity and blithe spirit of the record's remaining half-hour--but joins the other 11 songs directly in the wheelhouse of the Dashboard Confessional fervent. --Scott Holter


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vagrant
  • ASIN: B000VFIDQC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,742 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rapaleeman on October 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
First off, I'm a huge Dashboard Confessional fan and have been since I first heard "The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most". I have listened to and own everything Chris Carrabba has released. He is a great songwriter and artist. With that said this album is a sequel to "The Swiss Army Romance" and the aforementioned "Places". This to me is fan service for those who have been unhappy about the departure of the acoustic "emo" style that he pioneered. I had no problem with the move to "A Mark A Mission ...." and "Dusk And Summer". "Dusk and Summer" is one of my favorite albums but I do still listen to the older records because of that raw acoustic feeling of pure emotion. With that said, I hope you (the reader) understand where I'm coming from.

"The Shade of Poison Trees" is a great Dashboard album. The acoustic guitar is back, but there is something brighter and more alive in the sounds. The melodies and lyrics are as powerful as ever and the songs are catchier than ever. "Thick As Thieves", "Little Bombs", "Fever Dream" and "Where There's Gold..." are some of the standout tracks, but if you like Dashboard Confessional then you will like the entire album.

Why only 4 stars?

As great as this album is, nothing can turn back time. I get memories of high school and college when listening to "The Shade", but it just can't bring me back to that moment when I was 18 and heard "The Best Deception" for the first time. I have grown up. I enjoy listening to this album and will add it to my rotation of Dashboard songs, but it can only remind me of those feelings. "The Places" is where my feelings and memories lie. However, for the Dashboard "novice", this isn't a bad place to start.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The story of Dashboard Confessional so far has been a dizzying ascent into pop culture following the timid but heartfelt debut release "Swiss Army Romance" in 2000 and 2001's "The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most" (which was a partial re-recording of the debut release), and then punctuated by 2003's "A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar" album, which perfectly summarized the band's acoustic sound, yet expanded it nicely into a bigger (and sometimes electric) sound. "A Mark" is a highlight among the emo-releases of that era. Expectations for the next album were huge and when finally "Dusk and Summer" cames out in 2006, it was a commwercial letdown for whatever reason, sending the band's singer-songwriter back to the drawing boards. Now comes Dashboard Confessional's 5th studio album.

On "The Shade of Poison Trees" (12 tracks, 33 min.), Carrebba abandons the electric guitar entirely, and tries to rekindle the energy of "The Places You Have Come To Fear the Most". On the opener "Where There's Gold" the sound feels refreshing, as does "These Bones", but as the album carries on (in a flash, with only about a half hour of music), it becomes clear that the songs are missing the hooks from the earlier albums, in particular when you compare this to "The Places" and "A Mark", where it sounded like just about every song could be a hit. After playing "The Shade" a number of times, it is hard to recall any of the individual songs on the album.

Success (or the lack of it) is a curious thing. After the commercial disappointment of "Dusk and Summer", Carrebba felt compelled to retreat to the band's earlier sound, rather than continuing to evolve to whatever would be next. As a result, this album sounds uninspired, even contrived, and "The Shade of Poison Trees" simply does not live up to the band's earlier material, inviting the question where Chris Carrabba and Dashboard Confessional will go from here.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Glenn on November 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
So, I have all the CDs in the Dashboard catalog, and I readily admit that I like them all. Equally. There seem to be two types of DC fans out there: those who wish every single song, album, or DVD should be exactly the same as Chris' very first musical efforts- depressed, emotionally involved and 100% acoustic. Then there are those who think that all of his musical output should be mostly acoustic, but a couple of drums here and there are tolerable- as long as the songs are depressing and reminiscent of failed high school crushes. I can deal with either. Personally, I like the "depressing" aspect of his work; it's easy to feel emotionally close and identify with his music and lyrics because everyone feels pretty crappy about the opposite sex at times. The danger lies in the expectation that ONLY acoustic strumming and raw, heartfelt singing can possibly capture those feelings. I think that sometimes, a slow, sad and acoustic song is the way to go, but I also can appreciate the heavy drums and bass work coming along with it. So, while I actually really like "Dusk and Summer," I also really like this CD. It does have more drums and bass than earlier CDs, and Chris does sing differently than his first few albums, but it works. Obviously, he is older, and hopefully a little less depressed about life, and the resulting mix is good.
It all comes down to expectations- if you expect Chris to remain perpetually depressed and pining over the same heartbreaking crush from around 1989, then "Dusk and Summer" probably shattered your delicate and frail heart, and this new CD may not satisfy you; but if you expect that all musicians do, or at least should, grow and explore new things, then this CD may suit you. Really, he can only make one "Swiss Army Romance," and to expect every CD to follow in that same exact pattern is unfair and sad.
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