REVIEW: Carrabba grows up on Twin Forks' self-titled EP
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 23:09
Chris Carrabba has been involved in popular music since the beginning of the 21st century. After all, he's the figurehead behind Dashboard Confessional — the band that became famous for that "Stolen" song and sold out Madison Square Garden in 2007. He's also the lead singer for emo alt-rock group Further Seems Forever, a band with a fiercely-devoted cult following. Needless to say, the man is busy, and has done quite well for himself in the past decade.
Ultimately, Carrabba has been pegged as the heartthrob of emo music and has been criticized for being the guy in his thirties who is still singing broken-hearted songs about the girl that got away. But this all changes with his latest effort, a self-titled extended play from new folk project, “Twin Forks.”
The folk-rock music movement is something that has been gaining hold with music fans and connoisseurs in recent years. If you don't believe me, just look at the talent that has come out of the woodwork and stormed the forefront — bands like Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers and the Lumineers. Carrabba's most dedicated fans likely wouldn't associate him with these types of acts, but when you combine his talent and songwriting with that of the Narrative's Suzie Zeldin, Bad Books's Ben Homola and newcomer Jonathan Clark, something interesting happens.
You get an alt-folk supergroup that steps up to the plate and astounds unsuspecting listeners.
Where many might think Carrabba's raw and often shrill voice would clash with any lighthearted music and overpower Zeldin's delicate vocal stylings, the opposite occurs and a well-rounded live-performance sound is conveyed through the band's recorded material. It's raw and unpolished — sometimes Carrabba's voice seems to crack with the strain of pure emotion — but that's why it's so appealing. It is real and gives the EP an added dash of credibility.
The EP opens with the tune "Back to You," a song that instantly captures the listener's attention. Be warned — involuntary foot stomping is likely to ensue, setting up the whole of the album. While the song could have easily set this up as just another Chris Carrabba record, it knocks down this speculation with Zeldin's handy mandolin work and harmony vocal lines, as well as Homola's driving bass drum and rimshot percussion rhythms.
"I was young so I forgot/Which was my place and which was not/Thought I had a good shot/I took it right in my eye," Carrabba sings of the trials of youth. He follows it up with the simple, straightforward declaration: "Follow the signs right back to you/Back to you, back to you/I know they wind right back to you/Back to you, back to you."
The highlight of the five-song release is the closing track "Scraping Up the Pieces." It opens with a picking banjo part accompanied by driving handclaps and prominent hits on the snare drum. "I don't have no ring but I could steal one on the way/I'll be making good on all the promises I made/I never had much money but I got a little saved/Baby, leave the light on, I'll be coming over late," Carrabba promises and coos, making the listener feel as if the singer is guaranteeing the listener will want to hit the repeat button immediately after the track ends.
Believe me, you'll want to.