Reviewed by Mark Plummer
Starting with a negative, the vocals. Yes, they have a brilliantly subtle grit to them, but they sound disconnected from the rest of the band and don’t gel, so much as emanate, the feeling that they don’t want to be associated with the album. As songs role on, this is a problem that continuously arises. It would appear that the production is far to focused on creating a cohesion between the acoustic instruments (something that, at times, is overproduced), over the importance of connecting vocals and lyrics, with the songs in hand. It asks the question: how is an audience supposed to connect with the music they’re listening to?
That being said, there is a defining charm that Twin Forks brings to life; the opening few tracks – Can’t Be Broken, Cross My Mind and Back To You – are energetic, succeeding in pulling a listener in. Move past some of these initial faults, and there is an album that immerses itself in Summer time vibes. This is a release that will make you want to grab an acoustic guitar, head down to the lake and whittle away your days beneath the pulsating Summer sunshine; who can argue with that?
One of the shining points, and major differentials between this project and Dashboard Confessional, fully announces itself in Kiss Me Darlin; the soft and eloquent female vocals are truly refreshing and combine well with Chris Carrabba’s male lead parts. The undeniable question: why is this warm vocal talent being kept in the background for the majority of the album?
This is a problem that gnaws away throughout, and as tracks roll by, no matter how soothing or well written they appear (Danger, Plans and closing track Who’s Looking Out to name but a few), there is no discernible edge that sets this release apart from others in the genre. For all intent purposes, this feels like a Dashboard Confessional release, rather than an entirely new project. Yes, it may have more of a folky/country twang to it, but when all is said and done, it fails to break any new ground that hasn’t previously been covered by Chris Carrabba.
To sum up, whilst this release is charming and graceful to the last note, it is rather mercurial in its direction and execution; leaving behind an enigma as to whether this release is really a finished piece or not.
2½ out of 5