Amazon.com On Dashboard Confession's fourth album, Christopher Carraba welcomes listeners back into his emotionally claustrophobic world, where relationships are minefields, women are brittle and self-absorbed, and every cloud has a pewter lining. But all this is only fodder for his runaway id, as he deconstructs every encounter, giving us evidence of the pain and betrayal that lurks behind every corner. Finding a home somewhere between the positive punk of Green Day, circa "Time of Your Life," and the stream-of-consciousness poetry of the early Counting Crows, this collection is more musically coherent than Dashboard Confessional's earlier albums. Gil Norton's production has taken the band to new heights, allowing the music to have as much grit, substance, and dynamics as the lyrics. The anxious expectorated sputum of "Am I Missing," is an existential assault on your very sanity, with its fretful drumming and spectral chorus, but this album doesn't sound just that one apprehensive note; Carraba is equally at home with the sparse, acoustic ballad "Ghost of a Good Thing" and the folksy rocker "Carve Your Heart Out Yourself," which could have been lifted from a Buffalo Springfield album. By giving voice to the thoughts that go bump in the night, Carraba gives vulnerability and sincerity a good name again. --Jaan Uhelszki
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