Shade of Poison Trees

The Shade of Poison Trees

3.0 6
by Dashboard Confessional
As the initial frontman of Further Seems Forever, Chris Carrabba had already established his bona fide rock credentials by the time Dashboard Confessional took off in the early 2000s. He was an authentic rocker who felt enough confidence not to rock, who didn't cry when tattoo needles pierced his skin but openly wept


As the initial frontman of Further Seems Forever, Chris Carrabba had already established his bona fide rock credentials by the time Dashboard Confessional took off in the early 2000s. He was an authentic rocker who felt enough confidence not to rock, who didn't cry when tattoo needles pierced his skin but openly wept during cathartic performances. Those live shows were the crux of Carrabba's manic appeal; while spinning tales of heartbreak and mistrust, he would invariably call upon the support of his audience, asking them to sing along with his tremulous voice. Dashboard Confessional didn't spawn a scene as much as it did a support group -- a gathering of loyal fans who, like their emocore demigod, were unafraid to make their misery known. But time moves on, tastes change, and acoustic-fueled solo albums can't sustain an artist forever. Dashboard Confessional steadily grew in size and sound, with Carrabba assembling a permanent band and adding electric guitars to the group's repertoire. By the time Dusk and Summer arrived in 2006, pianos and violins had also been thrown into the mix, with Carrabba working alongside famed producers Don Gilmore and Daniel Lanois to fashion a summery brand of adult contemporary pop
ock. It made for an engaging listen, but Dusk and Summer still seemed like the product of someone other than Carrabba. Perhaps that's why The Shade of Poison Trees follows so closely on Summer's heels and marks a return to Dashboard's earlier material, with nary a violin in sight. Carrabba may be reclaiming his old sound in an attempt to reclaim his old audience, and while such intentions would be a far cry from the D.I.Y. spirit that fueled Dashboard's humble beginnings, the songs are good enough to make the change worthwhile. It's been awhile since Carrabba last ditched a wide, expansive sound in favor of something smaller; he's grown up since then, and Poison Trees takes strength in the maturity of its 30-something songwriter. While his emotions still run rampant, they're smartly controlled and constructed into concise pop songs -- only one of which exceeds the three-minute mark. If a track like "The Rush" had appeared on the band's debut album, its life-affirming chorus would have been shouted by Carrabba's rickety tenor. Here, however, the singer flips into a stylish falsetto to hit the high notes, with harmonies and cyclical guitar riffs anchoring the passion below. That's exactly what has been missing from Dashboard Confessional's catalog thus far -- an anchor -- and The Shade of Poison Trees is tastefully grounded by such pop sensibilities. "Thick as Thieves" is as catchy as anything Carrabba has ever written, with minimalist electric guitars leaving an uncluttered path for a genuinely irresistible melody. The song is flanked by two of the album's best acoustic numbers -- "Where There's Gold..." and "Keep Watch for the Mines" -- both of which relocate arena rock to the cozy confines of a coffeehouse. Those highlights comprise the first quarter of the album, and even though Poison Trees loses some steam toward its conclusion, its maturity sets Dashboard Confessional back on track.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly - Adrienne Day
Poison Trees strikes bold notes with the acoustic-busker feel of Carrabba's first two albums, and songs like ''Fever Dreams'' and ''Little Bombs'' peak in ecstatic ripples of harmony.

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Release Date:
Vagrant Records

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The Shade of Poison Trees 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What happened with this album? All the songs are acoustic, and the lyrics are so poorly constructed. The entire album is half an hour long! I expected more from Dashboard Confessional with this album. They seemed to have lost their voice with this one. This is a total disappointment compared to Dusk and Summer. If you're a die hard DBC fan, please read the reviews for this album BEFORE you buy it! Compared to their previous albums, this one is just a total disappointment. I expected more from them, and I got nothing... The only DECENT tracks I got out of this album were Where There's Gold, These Bones, and The Shade of Poison Trees. The rest don't work for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
you can tell on this album that chris carraba is trying to craft songs that put him on the map like "the best deceptions" and "screaming infedelities" "in fact, on the third track of the album the beginning riff is almost identical to "screaming infedelities"". it's a nice breather from the electric guitar-heavy, band feel of "dusk and summer," and it has the same intimate feel that he's always been able to carry on his albums. "where there's gold..." and "the rush" are highlights. he has grown in his songwriting, and this is his most mature album. unfortunately, it's inevitable that fans listening will be hoping for the magic he captured with "the places you have come to fear the most," but they won't find that here. what they will find is a good collection of acoustic songs. personally, i think he was on the right track with "dusk and summer" and hope see some more albums like that in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ah finally, something OTHER than love/sex songs. crafted with maturity, sarcastic humor, and reality, this album is filled with metaphors and lyrics that covers the real message. And you absolutely won't realize he has something to say unless you actually pay attention to the lyrics. It has a blend of countryside themes though, something like texas tunes, gold diggers, etc. Not something I was really interested with texan accented singers. I have nothing against texans, just the cute accent, can never get used to it. I really like "these bones" and "blood and connections", probably because I see these songs A LOT in people. I get a good laugh at "fever dreams", one cause he was obviously not serious in making the tune, and it sounds like some song a bad guy would sing when he mocks his dying victims. "Little bombs", another sarcastic song, covers the reality of people and their wrong doings. A nice song to sing aloud to annoy someone who did something wrong. "Keep watch for the mine" has a fun tune and tells you you're mouth can make you everyone's enemy, so watch it. The rest of the songs, like "Shade of poison trees" and "the rush", chris successfully hid his message, if that was what he was aiming for. And songs like "widows peak", "clean breaks", "the only gift I need", are more of serious love songs, something what the rest of us expected from this album. What really caught me off guard was how mature it was than his previous albums. None of those, cheezy things like I hear from ne-yo, chris brown, leona lewis.The songs were short, sweet, and absolutely original. Just the way i like it. Anyway, for me I really liked it, it really gave me a break from all those boring, cliched love songs about two people falling in love, missing each other, sorry that they broke each other's heart. Ugh. At least I'm not alone in thinking that there's something more in this world than just intimate love songs about relationship. One thing is for sure though, from the length , tunes, and short lyrics of the songs, he wasn't serious in making them. Like something he invented in five minutes time.
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