Review Summary: Chris Carrabba's new outfit has created a contrived, and quite frankly insulting, attempt to ride the coattails of a dying trend.
So, Chris Carrabba has hitched his wagon to the fading star that is overly happy indie-folk. The trend of vapid, sepia-toned, false Americana has started to wane a bit since 2012, as is common when a scene becomes popular. Ever since the explosion of “Little Lion Man”, every pretty faced person with an acoustic guitar tried to find a bearded guy who can play banjo, and together they sprinted towards the closest coffee shop in order to annoy some poor bastard trying to finally
finish that screenplay. The drummer in The Lumineers was once quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying, “Our songs are about people on a ship, singing arm in arm, all singing the same note.” Other than just being a really stupid metaphor (what possible purpose could a whole bunch of people yelling “Ho! Hey!” serve on a ship, other than to initiate the reinstatement of a plank?), the quote also brings to light the fundamental issue with the indie-folk scene: they are doing nothing more than preying on the intrinsic need for white people to do things in unison. White people love doing things in perfect unison (see: the Macarena, Nazi Germany), no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Chris Carrabba, already a master of making people sing pseudo-philosophical lyrics back at his face in Dashboard Confessional, has seized the opportunity to jump to a new bandwagon and grab those again who grew out of Dashboard when they entered college.
Carrabba and the rest of Twin Forks are smart enough to use the same beats that every other indie-folk band employs; making every song relentlessly clappable by way of inserting claps in almost every song. Lyrically, Carrabba seems to have actually regressed from his days in Dashboard, where he could actually get the listener to feel; back then it seemed as if he was genetically created to emote. In Twin Forks, he has fallen for every lyrical cliché in the mainstream indie-folk book, calling every female “girl” and going doggedly in depth about his “tearing heart”. The never-ending happy tone doesn’t serve well either, coming off as the dreaded combination of unauthentic and contrived. There is a colossal waste of resources and talent on display at all times, which makes the entirety of Twin Forks
seem like nothing more than a plea to get mainstream recognition. They all clearly did their homework, taking bits from Mumford and Sons and Of Monsters and Men, throwing in pinches of The Civil Wars and Alabama Shakes for a bit of effect, and finally grinding it all down to a bland paste that is served to the listener.
There is no reason why Twin Forks should exist. The only unique piece, Chris Carrabba, continually phones it in with half-assed lyrics and a vocal performance that doesn’t do much to impress. Every single song present on this debut has been written and recorded countless times before within the past five years, in slightly different variations, and shoved down the throats of every person who thought listening the Mumford and Sons Pandora station was a good idea (although to an extent they completely brought it upon themselves.) Also, throwing in claps every song is unforgivable. There is no damn excuse for that. At a certain point it is insulting your fanbase’s intelligence. “No, this is the part where you herd of idiots starts clapping.” If you are going to write an album that is clearly trying to jump on a trend, try not to make it so blatant and calculated that it comes off as condescending to the listener.