Review Summary: What always starts with a nostalgic listen every now and again quickly turns into a deep and meaningful listen. I miss this band.
I like Chris Carrabba. After Further Seems Forever, it is safe to say that he has gone on to do big things with Dashboard Confessional. From the So Impossible EP to my personal favorite The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, Chris knows how to paint a picture in your head, whether it be through the words sang from his mouth from the very tone he portrays them with. The Moon Is Down is a little hard to describe...it has its softer moments, it's harder and more emotional moments, its soft songs, etc. For talking about his beach town childhood so much, it's ironic to say that my first listen to this CD was actually on a beach in Oregon; in the dark while the waves crashed in.
This CD is still a valid and great listen, almost 10 years from it's release. Higher points of the CD include the bipolar "Snowbirds and Townies" as well as "Just Until Sundown." The former sinks into mellow, synth ridden verses and soars to emotional and almost screamo-like choruses, displaying the almost chaotic nature of the release that perfectly goes with the somber and mellow voice of Chris'. For that day and age, the production is stellar. The vocal mixing is not too heavily distorted or reverb-laden, and cuts through the mix without overpowering the instruments. The guitar tones achieved are also not too heavily affected, and have a bright and even-tempered tone. James Paul Wisner, who also went on to record a few Dashboard CD's, really makes The Moon Is Down come to life. The drums are also another plus production-wise, as the snare drum cracks and fills performed by Steve are fast and complex. Bass guitar however, is not clearly heard and is definitely a minor negative to an otherwise awesome mix.
The voice of Chris can really make or break this band. While later Further Seems Forever releases definitely had more accessible sounds in the vocal department (especially on Hide Nothing), Chris has a way of polarizing your opinions. Let's face it: he's whiny, emotional, but real. Lyrics typically break into the typical post-hardcore-esque "Just until sundown, just one more day I could hold you" and "Sometimes you don't say a thing for a long while. And the ships off shore hold stories that we'd make. And sometimes we are held at bay by these miles. But less of you is more than I can take." While definitely a little cliche and overdone, the constant ocean and water references in The Moon Is Down is a pretty interesting and worthy addition. Chris never actually "screams," but his voice can definitely change from soft to strained and almost yell-like.
Some positives of the CD include the very melodic "Snowbirds and Townies" and the "heaviest" song on the record, "A New Desert Life." The Moon Is Down has something for everyone. There are soft songs, faster and more upbeat songs, and very raw and emotional lyrics to compliment metaphorical and almost poetic lines. Further Seems Forever got it right with this one. Almost ten years later, I still come back to The Moon Is Down. 4/5.
Steve's drum work
"Snowbirds and Townies"
"The Moon Is Down"
A bit repetitive vocal content