Shade of Poison Trees
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|1. where there's gold..|
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|3. keep watch for the mines|
|4. these bones|
|5. fever dreams|
|6. the shade of poison trees|
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|8. little bombs|
|9. I light my own fires now|
|10. matters of blood and connection|
|11. clean breaks|
|12. widows peak|
U.S. vinyl LP pressing of the 2007 album from the American Alterna-Pop band. On Shade Of Poison Trees, Dashboard Confessional returns to his roots with an intimate album recorded in his home state of Florida in early 2007. With familiar song structures and lyrical content reminiscent of earlier releases, the album presents a great opportunity to reconnect with the core base as the artist's mainstream appeal continues to broaden. Vagrant.
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
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"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. It doesn't hit you as hard as "The Place" and "The Swiss" and that might be a good thing for the younger crowd. The first 2 albums were pretty dark at times and even though there are some darker tracks found here, nothing is as dark as some of the stuff off "The Swiss Army Romance" album.
This is a great album that is hurt only by the time that has passed. Original Dashboard Confessional fans take note: This will bring back memories of the time before you "grew up".
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.
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.
The no-holds-barred truth about The Shade... is as follows: musically, The Shade marks a departure from the arena-rock sound that was hinted at on A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar and clearly displayed on Dusk and Summer. Fans of older Dashboard efforts, particularly So Impossible and The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, will not be disappointed by the The Shade Of Poison Trees' stripped-down intimacy. However, be aware that lyrically, The Shade Of Poison Trees is much different than early Dashboard EP's and albums, in that the lyrics are more mature and tend to focus more on nostalgia than broken relationships. With these things in mind, Dashboard fans, both old and new, should be able to thoroughly enjoy The Shade Of Poison Trees. I know I certainly do.
The acoustic guitar is back. Most songs feature just the guitar, however they do mix in some drums and piano, which sounds great. Some of the songs can almost pass for early Dashboard work: Thick as Thieves, Where There's Gold, and The Shade of Poison Trees all offer up heavy acoustics and superb lyrics, though they still lack the emotion of previous releases. The tempo of the album is upbeat, which is a big improvement over the last two albums. The vocals are, as always, quite good. The music is simple, so if the lyrics aren't very interesting and catchy the songs falter.
Luckily, most of the tracks are fast-paced with good lyrics. I've been mostly listening to the album straight through, only skipping over The Rush and Matters of Blood and Connection (why write a bitter song about rich people?...I mean he's got to be wealthy himself now). Dashboard fans will appreciate this as their best work in a long time. New fans should start with Swiss Army Romance and Places That You Fear The Most before moving on to their later works. Definitely a must own for all long-time Dashboard Confessional fans.