Alter The Ending, Dashboard Confessional’s sixth studio album, sees a return to fine form for the band. Their last record, The Shade Of Poison Trees, was slow and emotional to the point of being downright depressing, as was Dusk And Summer before it. Luckily, the new album features much more in the way of adamant and forthright emotion with stronger music and nicer lyrics – improvements all round for the Florida band.

The opening track, “Get Me Right” is a fairly stripped-down song that relies on a combination of singer Chris Carrabba’s melodic vocals and a pulsing snare drum to carry the rhythmical tune. It sets an enticing standard, lyrically and vocally, that the rest of the songs on the album duly follow.

“Everybody Learns From Disaster” is reminiscent of the fervent tracks on the band’s 2001 album Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, as Carrabba sings about crazy adventures turning into catastrophe. You’ll almost be able to feel the wind in your hair when listening to this, as the tune tacks you on a road trip of melodies.

The first single off the album, “Belle Of The Boulevard,” is, funnily enough, one of the weaker tracks on the album. It lacks the driving rhythm of “Everybody Learns From Disaster,” the catchy chorus of “I Know About You,” and the poignant emotion of “Even Now.” It is simply middle-of-the-road Dashboard Confessional music that is pretty to listen to, but won’t be one of the songs that you remember from the album.

Other tracks worth paying attention to include the title track, “Alter The Ending,” along with “No News Is Good News,” and “The Motions” – which carries an effective moniker as the rhythm of the song makes you feel like you’re constantly moving.

While it may have one or two weaker songs, Alter The Ending effectively takes is place among the very best work in Dashboard Confessional’s ten-year career. It doesn’t escape the emo genre, but it’s better written and better sung than most of its gloomy genre peers.

 

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