July 13, 2006

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Dashboard Confessional, Dusk and Summer
Vagrant Records, 2006

Grimly determined either to become a male version of Bonnie Tyler or to put emo out of its misery once and for all by drowning it in Axe shower gel, singer Christopher Car­rabba isn’t out to make any unnecessary friends outside the Billboard world with Dusk and Summer, but to judge his Bubblicious on that alone is tantamount to covering one’s ears, blaring a stream of gibberish and leaving all those hooks to the High School Musical brigade. By now, Carrabba’s settled into his Vegas diva skin, holding his notes long enough for them to reach the cheap seats while his mouth is still open, angst dripping from strains that reach out and physically squeeze every last hormone-induced end-of-summer tear from the kiddies in attendance. Over-the-topness is everywhere — most any second-or-fifteenth-banana emo-ite on the Vans Warped Tour would sell an expendable organ to use one of these songs as a set-closer, not that Sixpence None the Richer-stolen album-opener “Don’t Wait” shreds that way, but it wants to. Meantime, mushroom-cloud outcries like “The Secret’s in the Telling” will surely result in near-death experiences for our hero as a result of his getting pelted with training bras. B+

— Eric W. Saeger


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