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Dashboard Confessional - The Shade of Poison Trees Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 8.75
Production 8.75
Creativity 7.25
Lasting Value 7.75
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 86%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.68
Musicianship 8.07
Lyrics 8.39
Production 8.38
Creativity 7.95
Lasting Value 8.2
Reviewer Tilt 8.57
Average: 83%
Inside AP.net

Dashboard Confessional - The Shade of Poison Trees

Reviewed by: Julia Conny (10/04/07)
Dashboard ConfessionalThe Shade of Poison Trees
Record Label: Vagrant Records
Release Date: October 2nd, 2007


Calling all Dashboard diehards – we know who we are. Together we throw our voices to the sweaty mist that rises above our mass of bodies. Like one huge open wound orgy, this Dashboard lovefest knows every lyric down to the last syllable. There is a short and tattooed man on stage with an acoustic guitar, and he stands a smidgen past five foot. His holy choir feeds off the heart he wears on his sleeve. The room sings as one, and our chords are hoarse by the third song.

I apologize for the mushy sentiments when I start rambling about Dashboard Confessional. I’ve grown up, but I’ll never stopped swooning for The Place You Have Come To Fear The Most. I thought the love affair stopped when Chris washed up with Dusk and Summer, but when word came ‘round that a new album was close by – a new album that was in the vein of his solo acoustic roots – I was right back to step one. And it’s true - The Shade of Poison Trees is more like the Dashboard that I fell in love with when I was 16. This may because according to Chris, the recording process for Poison Trees was an inspirationally flowing, organic experience. The branded Dashboard sound has always taken a naked and vulnerable structure and made it sound massive enough for kings. Poison Trees pays tribute that same primitive energy that breathes on in Swiss Army Romance and Places, especially when Chris runs his fingers raw in the acoustic “Keep Watch for the Mines.”

I had one great concern when hype for Poison Trees began swinging through my neighborhood: Dusk and Summer v2.0. The majority of last year’s full-length release had zero staying power for me (except “Reason to Believe”). This might have something to do with the point of music I was in at the time, but the album’s big anthems still never developed in anything better than radio-rock labors. However, I don’t think this anything to do with an electric guitar and here’s why: A Mark A Mission A Brand A Scar is damn good. The full-band, plugged in tracks on 2003’s AMAMABAS prove that Chris can write excellent songs that require electricity. Poison Trees re-channels that vigor, especially on tracks like “Thick as Thieves” and “Matters of Blood and Connection.”

Another interesting aspect of Poison Trees is the return of Dusk and Summer producer Don Gilmore (Pearl Jam, Linkin Park). The immensity of each arrangement leaves no detail concealed. Within the main feel of the album - its sincere overtone - its meaty and ambitious production fits just right. Lyrically, Chris is in his old sort, even though he never really had a new sort. Lines in the darling “Matters of Blood and Connection” and “Little Bombs” remind why I started to write about music in the first place. I’m overawed that my old Dashboard flame is rekindling; Poison Trees is exactly the mental refreshment I needed.

It would be nothing but dumb of me to chalk this album up to the impact and timing of Chris’ older releases; ultimately, I’m not 16 anymore. “The Windows Peak” and “Fever Dreams” are the two weakest tracks on the album, and “I Light My Own Fires Now” is outshined between “Little Bombs” and “Matters of Blood and Connection.” The album isn’t perfect, but neither am I. With age comes skepticism, and even then I’m finding very little to contest with this overall upshot. Chris never lost his game; he just took a water break.

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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 80
11:12 PM on 10/04/07
#2
captainoats32
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overall pretty awesome review but i would have scored it somewhere in the 90's. If you haven't already get your hands on a copy of the itunes bonus track 'tonight ill take what i can get' its such an amazing song.
11:16 PM on 10/04/07
#3
XBurnedDesireX
All the way from Noraz
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awesome review....can't wait to hear this...
11:35 PM on 10/04/07
#4
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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overall pretty awesome review but i would have scored it somewhere in the 90's. If you haven't already get your hands on a copy of the itunes bonus track 'tonight ill take what i can get' its such an amazing song.

Did they re-record the song for the album? I have the older acoustic and full-band version.
03:10 AM on 10/05/07
#6
b4u4get
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"Matters of blood and connection" is so good. And I find the whole album very interesting and well written. Maybe it is so because I haven't heard that much albums of DC and I have nothing to compare to the shade of poison trees, except dusk and summer, which didn't impress me.
03:14 AM on 10/05/07
#7
CLARIFY THIS
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I always look forward to your reviews.

Hopefully I'll be picking this up soon.What I've heard has me hooked
04:03 AM on 10/05/07
#8
yoyoninjagirl
Nobody's Nothing
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great review. I love this album, definitely made me believe in Dashboard again.
06:18 AM on 10/05/07
#9
SwishMX48
In December, drinkin' Horchata
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This is a great album, good review...and yes "A Mark..." is amazing even though it had to grow on me a little I'm sure I'll grow to like this even more through the fall
08:39 AM on 10/05/07
airik625
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really good review i enjoy this style much more than his full band style. i really like this
09:12 AM on 10/05/07
singyoutocoma
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I totally disagree with your rating, this is just him giving the fans what they want but failing miserably to recapture the raw and emotional glory of Places. It's worse than Dusk and Summer, some of the writing is just so half assed.

I agree; I've only given it cursory listens, but so far, other than "Where There's Gold...," it sounds like he took the boring, stupid electric songs he was writing and made them boring, stupid acoustic songs to cash in on his own trend.
09:35 AM on 10/05/07
smelltheglove
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whoa whoa whoa, 'fever dreams' and 'widows peak' the weakest songs on the album???????? insanity! Those two songs are by far the most impressive vocally on the album, and possibly that he's ever done. Try to sing along to that chorus of "widows peak" and see if you can even come remotely close to hanging with Carraba. I guarantee unless you're some sort of professional singer your voice will crack. Fuckin' insane the notes he hits on those songs.

"matters of blood and connection" on the other hand is pretty weak, a song about rich dudes? huh? its just out of place.

"keep watch for the mines" is also off the chain and along with "little bombs", probably the closest things he's written to "the places you have come..." era DC since...well since 2001.

overall solid 7/10 but I think in terms of individual songs, dusk and summer was stronger. there's nothing on here that rivals "stolen" or "so long so long" in terms of arrangement, instrumentation, lyrics, etc. those are some of the best songs he's ever written. and "where there's gold" isn't nearly as impressive of an opener as "dont wait" was.

i dig it. vocally it's probably his best work, but lyrically and musically i've heard him do better or at least at the time it was more creative and groundbreaking.
09:40 AM on 10/05/07
smelltheglove
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i should add that I am glad he doesn't write break up songs anymore, yeesh, I can barely listen to "places you have come to fear" anymore because of how freakin' sappy pappy college heartbreak it is. but when I was 20 when it came out I have to admit, that's where I was in life as well.
09:50 AM on 10/05/07
SlowDescent
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def derserves a score in the 90's...sick album
09:52 AM on 10/05/07
Silver Bullets
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Very Good review.

I totally disagree with your rating, this is just him giving the fans what they want but failing miserably to recapture the raw and emotional glory of Places. It's worse than Dusk and Summer, some of the writing is just so half assed.

I don't think it's worse than dusk & summer, but it does lack that raw intensity of Places...
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