Dashboard Confessional - The Swiss Army Romance [re-issue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Dashboard Confessional

The Swiss Army Romance [re-issue] (2003)


So I'm not really going to review this release itself. Most of you are reading this simply so you can post comments about how much you think Dashboard sucks. Well, knock yourself out, because I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a fan of Dashboard Confessional.

And I'm not a girl, nor am I 15 [I am fat, though].

Here's the deal - this is Dashboard Confessional's first album. The CD originally came out on Fiddler Records, then was bought up by Drive-Thru Records [apparently without Chris' consent]. Carrabba never inked a legitimate contract with Drive-Thru and instead signed with indie powerhouse Vagrant. After a long legal battle [one where everyone associated with Vagrant/Dashboard denied all existance of said album], Vagrant has obtained the rights to the disc and has re-issued it with two bonus tracks.

I hope you read that carefully, because there will be a test later.

For a summary of tracks 1-10 - this is Carrabba's debut LP, and as such it contains his best songs at the time. The fact that it is just one man and a guitar [and the occasional female backing vocals] reminds the listener of just what Dashboard Confessional used to be before all this hype - just one guy and his six string, pouring his heart out over softly strummed chords. These songs still hold up after three years.

And now, the selling point of the album [as one would assume most Dashboard fans have bought the original version of the disc] - the two previously unreleased tracks. Both songs were recorded around the same time as the rest of the album, and were left out for various reasons. The first, "Hold On," is a really nice, soft ballad that showcases the even softer side of Carrabba's softer side. His vocals are a bit rough, but that's to be expected due to the nature of the recording. The second unreleased song, "This Is A Forgery," is... well, I don't really know how to describe it. Take any typical Atom and His Package song and add in a teenage version of Morrissey belting out the line "This is a forgery, this is a forgery" over and over again.

No, really, I'm not making this up. The song is driven by electronic drums and keyboard, and is laughable to say the least. It completely ruins any mood that the previous 11 songs had succeeded in setting.

I'd recommend this to anyone who considers themself a fan of Dashboard Confessional but never got a chance to buy this album before it was pulled from stores. If you already own the Drive-Thru version, I would tell you to pass, as the two new tracks will certainly not wow you [although they might garner a chuckle from you].