CD Review: Dashboard Confessional “Alter The Ending”

I must confess: Dashboard Confessional is not normally a band that drives me wild. Yeah, I enjoyed their radio songs, but found many of their previous CDs uneven. However, with each CD they’ve released, it sounds to me like they move further and further away from the banal indie and alternative rock and closer to a more melodic and memorable sound. And with their 6th CD, Alter The Ending, the band has finally hit their stride and put out a record that I look forward to hearing time and time again.

I wasn’t under this impression after the first track, “Get Me Right”, but right after that they launch into a fantastic streak of catchy pop rock tunes that changed my mind about these guys. “Until Morning” and “Everybody Learns From Disaster” are awesome preludes to the monster single, “Belle of the Boulevard” (although I can’t get the tappers out of my head when I hear that song – Tap Tap Revenge fans know what I’m talking about here!). The infectious tunes keep coming with the peppy “I Know About You” and title track. Soon you realize these guys were just getting warmed up after they deliver one of the catchiest tracks they’ve even written, “The Motions”, where they tattoo the following into your brain: “If this is chemical, then I am not afraid to be bound to the impulses of science.” The record ends on a couple more very strong notes with the infectious “No News Is Bad News” and power ballad, “Water and Bridges”.

Some might attribute the victory that is Alter The Ending to the masterful producers, Butch Walker and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), and no doubt this is partially true. But I believe that after six albums, the guys have matured, refined their songwriting chops, and found their groove. Alter the Ending is an example of the magic that happens when all the stars are in alignment.

I received the “Deluxe” edition, which includes a second CD of acoustic renditions of all the tracks on the studio release in the same order. It is a good listen – not just vocal and acoustic guitar like you might expect – the guys spice it up with piano, strings, and percussion. Definitely worth the little bit of extra money.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11

Dashboard Confessional on MySpace. Official site.

To discover the music of Dashboard Confessional, click on the album cover below: